Tuesday, September 27, 2011

NFC: One more step towards Money Virtualization

Today we're witnessing one of the last steps in the virtualization of money.

Starting millenniums BC with the Egyptians and the Babylonians money was originally very physical as in commodities, such as barley, salt, and precious metals.
Continuing with the first stamped weighted coins dating back to 700BC, followed by multiple attempts to representative money (token or certificate made of paper) in the 1800s and early 1900s.
And, in an exponentially accelerated fashion converting recently to electronic or digital money with the advent of credit and debit cards, virtual payments and transfers among other ways of electronic interchange of money.

So, what is new today about money virtualization?

The answer is NFC, Near Field Communication: allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in close proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters.
NFC coming soon to a cellphone near you will be a key technology to enable electronic money, electronic business cards, file sharing, mobile gaming, electronic people and things tracking and friend to friend communication.

I received today in the mail my first NFC payment tag promising "simplicity starts now" (by Citi Bank).
The little tag is designed to be adhered to the back of your phone, so no need to wait for the new NFC phones to start living this NFC era. As stated in the brochure that came with the tag, a renown network of stores is already accepting "PayPass" including: 7Eleven, Sports Authority, CVS Pharmacy, Best Buy, Hess, bp, Home Depot and Mc Donalds. I am sure the list is growing fast.

Obviously they offer the same $0 liability they offer with the rest of their cards, which is probably going to take care of some of the unnatural fears that always accompany any new technology like this.

For me this is a historic moment I've been waiting for the longest time, one more step towards liberating myself from the purse and in this case of the wallet and being lighter by carrying just a cellphone. Oops, what about Id? When will we have a digital version of it? I love those credit cards that have your pic in the back and you don't need to have an id to use them ...

May years ago I wrote about technology becoming ubiquitous using the example of the clock/watch. Today we can certainly add money to this technology trend.

Simple is better, less is more, and with this motto I leave you with all the excitement of enjoying soon from one of the last steps in money virtualization, just before the implanted chip ;)

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