PayPal is trying to get into the payment market, and I recently read that Home Depot now accepts PayPal in their stores. I have been asking myself why I would want to pay in a store with PayPal? Today, I got the answer. After a pleasant motorcycle ride to the Palm Coast Home Depot store and picking out some things I needed for a project, I headed for the self-checkout lane. After scanning my items, I clicked the Pay Now button. I selected the Credit Card option and then reached into my pocket. There was nothing there – I had left my wallet on the kitchen counter. The attendant backed me out of the payment screen and I chose Pay Now again. This time I selected PayPal. The credit card reader had a small screen and keyboard where I entered my cell phone number and pin. Voila — transaction completed. No cash. No credit card. A mobile payment — the wave of the future. (Fortunately, I was not stopped by the police on the way home, as my driver license was also on the kitchen counter).
Payments as we know them will soon be a thing of the past. Will it be PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Google, Amazon, big retailers, or big banks that provide us with the mobile payment platform? Or, perhaps it will be Apple. Maybe Bitcoin. My prediction for the day — one man’s opinion, worth what you pay for it — is Apple and Bitcoin. Overstock has already shown that payment with Bitcoin works (see My First Purchase Using Bitcoin). Coinbase has announced a new technology to make it very easy for any web e-tailer to add a link to integrate a shopping cart checkout to a Bitcoin digital wallet. What about Apple? As we all know, there are one million+ apps out there for Android and the iPhone. If you search the Android app store for Bitcoin, you find hundreds of apps. If you search the iTunes app store, there are just four. There had been five before Coinbase was kicked out of the store. Why? Nobody says why, but Coinbase has a digital Bitcoin wallet for Android. Is it possible that Apple has decided to go into the payment business? The combination of the iPhone Passbook, the Trust ID fingerprint reader, and a Bitcoin app of their own, could be a major force in the payments of the future.