I Like My Wallet

Google announced Thursday of last week that they wanted their Google powered cell phone to be your new wallet.  They essentially announced that a new payment system will link your smartphone to your credit card or a reloadable prepaid credit card.  The new product is called Google Wallet, and it lets a shopper pay for purchases and access promotional offers right on his or her personal smartphone.   This type of technology is widely used in Asia and several other countries. (www.ajc.com)

STOP!  Stop right there in your tracks!   I am here for the record to say that I truly like my Wallet.  Now, I don’t quite carry a George Constanza wallet on me, but there is a magical moment that happens when you get to take out your wallet, peek inside to see all of your cards and money, and then prominently display your payment method to the merchant of your choice.    As I mentioned in one of my recent blogs ‘The Technology Sabbath’, its bad enough people don’t look you in the face anymore because they are so darn busy looking at their smartphones.   Now, you are telling me that when you pay for something at the store you won’t even have to talk to someone at the point of purchase?

Everyone says that this new technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) is just a matter time before it is integrated into the way we live our lives.   I thought Near Field Communication meant having a face to face conversation with a merchant who owns a local store when you make a payment.  Apparently, it just means being near enough to the electronic device in the store that can talk to your electronic device so they can communicate and capture your money.   Isn’t it just great?  I’m kidding.  Are we so focused on these technological advancements that we simply have no interest in building any personal relationships whatsoever?

But  Ted, having electronic payments will make things quicker and speedier when we go to the store.    Have any of you been to the self checkout aisle at a Kroger lately?  I think it’s pretty funny to watch someone swiping a ten pound bag of dog food only befuddled to figure out where the bar code is on the bag.   By the time they are done doing the seven items themselves, they actually cost themselves more time than waiting in the express line.  Tell me where the smart money move is that whole deal?

You should keep your wallet because I’ll predict what NFC technology will do for you right now.  More unwanted texts.  More unsolicited coupons.   In fact, the next time you walk right through the front door of Banana Republic, POOF!    Magically, a coupon will pop up offering you 20% off your next purchase of a pair of pants.   You can’t take my wallet away from me because I love the feel of it in my hands.   What I know for sure is that no mobile coupon will pop up in the back pocket of pants.  Not now.  Not ever.  Take that Google!

Written by:

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®

Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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4 Comments

  • Jake Hunnell
    June 2, 2011

    I’m with ya. I’m keeping my leather wallet. Forget Google!

  • Jomal Vailes
    June 2, 2011

    Cosign!

  • William McLendon
    June 2, 2011

    Ted, You are so right. The buisness owner should want the face to face more than the consumer, they want you to want to return for more custom. Also I refuse to use self check out that may be my friends job that was lost????

  • Glen
    June 2, 2011

    While this may be common in other parts of the world, this is nothing new. When I was consulting over a decade ago we had this capability (but it was too new and retailers weren’t investing in the technology). When I joined a retail company, one of the primary customer complaints was length in line, so we implemented self checkout (new customer option). To your point, while the average self checkout time was longer per customer, the perception by the customers was that self checkout was faster probably because the customer had options and had more control. And people in self checkout shortens cashier lines. And keep in mind, ringing items in a self checkout line may be slow, but swiping payment is faster than validating your ID when paying with a credit card, paying cash and getting change, or writing a check (no offense to my grandmother).

    This isn’t much different than current credit/debit card “speed pay” options. And it’s not that different than customers having the ability to contact a company via mail, fax, phone, email, and chat (in the recent past email and chat weren’t contact options with a lot of companies). The key is responding based on your customer preferences. And while I like the one-on-one interaction with my “dealer” (wine and beer), I don’t need to have an interaction in a pure transaction environment (like buying morning coffee at a gas station or buying fast food). In situations where I want to get in and get out, I prefer faster options, not social options.

    So give your customers the range of options and let them choose…mobile, automated coupons, self checkout, chat, speed pay, 24/7 access to a financial portal (vs. calling your CFO with every question). And to end this ramble, self-service options tend to be cheaper, so increasing options/channels is truly a win-win for customers and businesses.

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