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Tech Savvy: Cashing in

First there was cash, then checks and then came the plastic.

Now it seems, with everything and everyone becoming digital first and technology-oriented, smartphones and apps may soon be replacing the way people in society pay for items.

The connection between bank accounts and smartphones and the digital era is nothing new. Many people, myself included, use online banking and respective bank apps to better manage money on the go, checking account balances and funds and even — for a fee — depositing checks directly from their phone. According to an August St. Paul Pioneer Press article — titled “The smartphone will soon take the place of wallet, experts say”:

“Nearly two-thirds of the technology experts surveyed on behalf of the Pew Internet and American Life Project said that by 2020, most people will embrace so-called ‘mobile wallet’ systems that banks and technology companies are starting to develop.

“Research firm comScore says that 38 percent of smartphone owners have used their phones to make a purchase ...”

What’s happening now, it seems, is just one step further toward a Jetson future.


Beginning this past year, some major retailers have announced they will accept payments via our favorite digital devices. Don’t have the cash for your Starbucks coffee and don’t want to whip out your credit card for a measly $2.69? Starbucks is just one of the major retailers that has its own app that can be used at the Seattle-based company’s cafes around the world, earning customers rewards when using it. The popular coffee-bean joint also allows the Square app at select stores and as recently as Oct. 4, it was reported they are also in the process of making an app for leaving baristas a tip.

Google Wallet, introduced last fall, seems to be the most widely accepted at places that do allow app pay. The downfall is it is specific to Android phones and doesn’t work with all wireless carriers.

Another option is Square.

Still, the most difficult is deciphering which stores take which options of payment and, like I mentioned, mobile payments are still not widespread, especially to manage which places use which app of payment.

I’ll stick to my cash and card. Check, please!

(Jessi Pierce, Brainerd Dispatch staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).)