There was a time when someone told you to “Put your money away” meant he or she was going to pick up the” tab” for whatever you were doing at the moment; most likely eating a meal. That expression is going to take on a whole new meaning in a few months as more and more retailers will be using iPhone and Android apps that will recognize when you enter their store and automatically tally your bill when you step up to the cash register. “Put your money away” is going to mean “We don’t take cash or plastic here, just apps.”
This is how it will work. The cashier will say, “Hello _________.” You place your items on the counter. The cashier will say, “Today your order is $___________. Then you walk away with the goods. The receipt for the order will appear on the app that you are using.
Some of the apps will require you to “Open a Tab” the very first time you visit a new retailer. This is how your financials get transferred to the register. You do that once and you never have to access your phone again at that particular retailer. I guess this is where I remind you that in order to get started in the first place, you have to download your app of choice and provide your banking information so it is on file.
I witnessed a transaction last week when I was at a boutique retailer. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was busy looking for my American Express card. For some reason, I can never find what I want, when I need it. It is always such a hassle finding my cards that I would just love to be recognized and have an automatic transaction.
Once you get over the “Big Brother Is Watching You” phase, you can use these apps to your advantage. The apps offer discounts to first time buyers, frequent buyers, offer you specials, new items, close-outs, etc.
The smartphone app that David Pogue recently profiled to explain this new concept to his New York Times readers is Pay With Square. He also lists other apps that do similar things as well, so it is well worth reading to see all of the future options.
If anyone reading this blog is using a similar retail payment service, please share your experience with us in the comments section.