So it’s the end of a good meal and it’s time to split the bill. Do you divide it equally? All tip the same? Pay for what you each owe? Thankfully, technology is solving these arguments and making the whole process easier through mobile payment. You can use the calculator on your phone to work out what you owe without needing to flex your mental maths muscles. You can use your phone to pay your friends and even the restaurant itself, without touching your wallet. Welcome to the cashless society.
Mobile payments have many benefits and fit seamlessly into a student lifestyle. They make it convenient and fast to pay for what you need, such as in a supermarket. It is also secure, with the same encryption techniques used for online shopping. Apple Pay is a particularly sophisticated example as it uses the fingerprint capabilities of new devices to ensure that payments are authorised.
If you don’t like to carry around cards, it eliminates the need to get money from ATMs, meaning fewer long waits for cash in the cold. Finally, the real benefit for students is that it allows you to budget effectively, by keeping track of all your purchases. Many apps can categorise your spending and weave it into nifty graphs, without you needing to thumb through a wad of receipts.
There are downsides to mobile payment, which have held it back just a little. When your money supply depends on your mobile phone battery, most of us know that it won’t end well. There are also disadvantages for retailers, as consumers start to expect them to accept mobile payment, but the hardware can be quite costly.
Mobile payment is a varied field, which can include many different types of systems. Mobile wallets let you store multiple cards on your phone. For example, Google Wallet lets you send, receive and cash out money quickly and for free. Alternative systems such as Softcard even let you add coupons to your mobile wallet. The rise in popularity of contactless payment shows the demand for speedy transactions.
Many restaurants now let you pay via app without having to locate your waiter. You are simply given a unique QR code to pay on your mobile. Members of the myWaitrose club can do their shopping in-store by using their app to scan and pack items as they go before paying on their way out. The possibilities of mobile payments for convenience and speed are incredible.
However, you may be sceptical that this is just an emerging trend and tempted to stick with cash and cards. PayPal recently proved how far mobile payments can take you. In a feat named ‘Pole to Pole’, they challenged lifestyle and travel blogger, Steve Booker, to get from one side of the world to the other, using only mobile payment. He succeeded, covering eight countries and three continents over two weeks. Dog sledding, boating, a helicopter ride, boat trip and penguin walk were all paid for on mobile. This means that mobile payment can handle the demands of a student lifestyle.