Tech Notes: Currency and E-Payments

Last time, I spoke about newspapers and how we are slowly, but surely, evolving to the elimination of the printed newspaper as we know it. One day, it will be a thing of the past as new subscribers go with electronic editions of their preferred newspapers.

In continuing with that trend, I’d like to talk about my thoughts on where we are headed with what we all do, sometimes daily. Paying for things. Whether it be for services or products, technology is making it convenient enough to pay for things without even having to reach into our pockets. Is it really worth it? Of course, as with most things, there’s always a risk and sometimes a price to pay with greater convenience.

Sending Money to a Friend (RIP Western Union wire-money transfers)

Just recently, I entered a pool with a group of people for the recent “March Madness” basketball tournament. It’s something I usually do every year. We usually wager a small amount of money and the winner gets the cash prize. This year, the person handling the money didn’t live nearby so we were wondering how to quickly get the cash over to him. We decided to use PayPal. I already had a PayPal account for purchasing items online, but by simply downloading the app to our mobile devices, I was able to send my buddy the cash in minutes. The convenience: I didn’t have to drive to another state to give him my cash. The cost: a small surcharge that PayPal charged me (about .80 cents to to send him $20.00).

PayPal has been around for many years, and at times have had breaches of customer information, but they’ve managed to tighten their security.  Venmo is a similar service that has become popular for parents to send their children money when off to college.

Pay by Smartphone – Apple Pay and Samsung Pay (RIP Cash and Debit Cards)

When you walk into a grocery store, department store, or restaurant, take notice of the stickers that may be posted on the glass. Many of them now accept payments via mobile devices. Now, I know many of you reading this right now may be saying “Nope, sorry Chad. Not doing it.”, but how many of you may have thought the same way when debit and credit cards came out decades ago. Did you ever think you’d not walk around carrying cash? If I asked you to pull out a $5 dollar bill, could you do it? Most times, I cannot do it.

Today’s world is generally a cashless society, but it’s always nice to have a few bucks handy for a quick tip to the bag-boy for taking out your groceries, or the hotel clerk for carrying up your bags. However, are we really ready to take our payments to the next level and hold up our mobile devices at the supermarket to pay for our items?

Much of it falls on us. We must place a high importance on updating the technology we own. We must be aware of the messages that may flash on our devices that say “Update Available”. Make sure these messages are real (and not a phishing scam) and make sure those updates are successfully installed. You should often go into your phone’s settings menu and look for the “System Update” section and make sure you are running the latest operating system available. Then, and only then, could you consider taking advantage of your devices “Mobile Pay” option. Many phones are equipped with fingerprint recognition technology that you must enable if you decide to use “Mobile Pay”. This means that only you can present your electronic credit or debit card up to the reader to make a payment.

As I write this, I wonder myself when I’ll consider trying this out. Yes, I know – I just talked about this new and exciting technology that’s out there and then now I mention that I haven’t even done it. It’s ok. I challenge anyone reading who is interested to try it out first. Don’t commit to it as a permanent method. Technology changes too fast, even for someone like myself who is in the industry. Just know that you are in control of the technology you own. Use it how you like, when you like.

E-Giving and E-Tithing (RIP Offering Plate)

There’s been many times when the offering plate at church gets passed around, row by row, only to see it go unfilled. In a cashless society, this type of giving suffers. Many churches know this and are offering a way for those not carrying cash to still give back their part.

Okay, so maybe your church doesn’t have credit card readers installed on the backs of your pews, but many churches are offering the option for “E-Tithing”, either through their website or a special app.

Online BillPay (RIP Checkbook)

Even if we don’t carry exact change, we always could pull out our trusty checkbook and write a check (especially for services rendered in your home). However, many banks, most notably Bank of America, are offering the option to be your checkbook. Usually referred to as BillPay, it makes the check writing process electronic (except at the end). You go online, either by computer or mobile device, and log into BillPay. From there, you specify the amount owed, the payee’s name, and the date it should take place. Your bank then sends an actual paper check to the payee in a few business days. The advantage: you don’t have to keep an actual checkbook. The drawback: it takes a few days to complete the transaction.

I discuss all of these things to make you aware of how the technology we all use daily is changing how we interact in society. There’s really only two questions you have to ask yourself. 1) Will this process make things more convenient for me?  2) Do I feel comfortable using this process as opposed to the old way of doing it?

I’d welcome your thoughts or comments on any of the above topics. Just comment down below (in the “Leave a Reply” section) or shoot me an e-mail below.

-Submitted by Chad Droze

Post & Computer Center – Freshfields Village


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One Response to Tech Notes: Currency and E-Payments

  1. Thad Peterson says:

    Chad, this is a good summary of digital payment options. I’m an analyst that focuses on mobile and digital payments and you’ve covered it well.

    The one thing that I would add is that mobile payments like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are not only more convenient, they are also absolutely the safest way to pay for anything. The combination of the fingerprint biometric, the device ID and a system that makes the transaction completely anonymous to anyone but you and the payment card issuer creates a process that’s virtually impossible to break. Even if someone steals the phone, the biometric will prevent usage until you can call Apple (or whoever) to tell them that it was stolen.

    If you have a mobile wallet, load it up and give it a try. It’s fun, way cool, and very safe.

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