The mobile payments sector continues to include a variety of companies all scrambling to be the next dominant form of payment. But Slate's Farhad Manjoo notes that many of these technologies have lacked any noticeable benefit above current payment methods, until now.
Systems like Google Wallet and many other competitors rely on near-field communication systems that will require the broad distribution of new technologies and still involve taking out a phone, authorizing a payment and many of the potential security flaws of credit cards.
An innovative new option presented by Square, the mobile payments company created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, instead allows users to pay with nothing more than their name.
Users download an app onto their phone that allows them to select certain businesses where they can pay automatically. Cashiers at these stores will see a person's picture when they give their name, allowing them to confirm customers' identities and then put the charge through with no further interaction. The transfer only functions within a certain distance of the store and notifies users immediately, helping to prevent fraud.
TechCrunch reports that 20,000 businesses have already joined the program, a number that is quickly growing.