BofA, Visa to try pay-with-cell program

Visa credit card in wallet

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: Picture this scenario: You left your house this morning without any cash. Just when it looks like you're going to need more money to buy that cappuccino. You could try your cell phone. Bank of America and Visa are getting ready to try a pilot program in New York to let some customers pay for stuff with their phones.

Marketplace's Janet Babin explains.


JANET BABIN: Here's how it works: Bank of America gives you a chip that attaches to your smartphone. A device in the store reads the chip, then deducts the purchase from a customer's bank account. So how is this better than a debit card?

Patrice Peyret is a partner a Nexit Ventures, a venture fund that focuses on mobile technology.

PATRICE PEYRET: It's not clear what the benefit is, to bump your phone against a fancy terminal, as opposed to swiping your card cause it doesn't speed the transactions.

Paying with your phone is popular in the rest of the world, where fewer people have bank accounts.

Analyst Charles Golvin at Forrester Research says banks and credit card companies see fees in the mobile future.

CHARLES GOLVIN: If cash payments are suddenly turned into credit or debit transactions, they now carry a percentage transaction fee for all of that volume.

Bank of America declined to comment on how much of a transaction fee it will charge merchants during the pilot program.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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