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Plastic cards continue to drive world away from true mobile payments

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November 22
8:27 PM 2013

The presence of plastic cards like that of PayPal's debit card and more recently, the Google Wallet Card, prove that the world is moving away from true mobile payments. Brian Fung, in his report on The Switch at The Washington Post, said the world is retreating from the promise of being able to actually pay for goods and services using your smartphone.

Evidence first came last year when PayPal together with Discover, introduced a physical debit card that enables users to access all their accounts that are linked to their PayPal account. PayPal said the card can now be utilized in hundreds of thousands of locations all over the US.

Coins, a startup, also raised funding last week for an all-in-one credit card that combines all payment cards of a user. The user can then select which card to use with just one tap. It also sends a notification to the user's phone if the card is left behind.

The most recent proof that the world is backing away from mobile payments comes from the early proponent of near field communication or NFC itself. Google has offered the Google Wallet Card. It is a debit card that gives users immediate access to the balance in their Wallet. Users don't anymore have to wait for the money to be transferred from their Wallet Balance to their bank account.

Kathy Chui, the spokesperson for PayPal, told Fung why PayPal decided to offer a debit card. She said, "Our strategy is to be everywhere our consumers are. We also want to work with merchants. So there's going to be some situations where it's going to make more sense to have a card and there are going to be situations where people want to use mobile payments in stores."

Fung still believes that card-less mobile payments may eventually become the norm. "But for now at least, we're taking a little detour," he wrote.

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