Will That be Cash or Chargex... or Smartphone

I often have the opportunity to write about technology and how it enhances our lives, mainly because I am a big believer in finding better and faster ways to do things.

Think of where we would be if Microsoft had stayed with DOS instead of Windows or Apple had never invented the smart phone. I understand some people would challenge how much further ahead we are, but the days of horse and buggy, eight and twelve cylinder cars, and eight track and cassette tapes, are thankfully behind us.

One of the fastest growing and timesaving inventions evolving to make our lives simpler is in the financial world, and the way we handle our banking. Internet banking has been around for a while, but only recently has the invention of a smart phone App to deposit cheques into your account, come into being. My bank has only just launched this ability and I have taken advantage of it every opportunity I get.

Internet banking gives you the possibility to maximize your money and get the most use out of it. When I pay bills online, the first thing I do is look at the due date. I then set my software to pay bills one day before that date. This avoids any late payment charges, at the same time letting me use my money as long as possible.

Depositing cheques through my phone is not only time saving, but fun. As soon as I receive a payment, I take a photo of it and deposit it. Usually this happens in my car, at the post office or in a nearby Tim Horton’s. The money is instantly placed into my account, without making a trip to a bank or lining up at a machine.

To take technology one step further, I recently downloaded the Tim Horton’s App which allows me to pay for my coffee by simply holding my phone in front of the server. Magically my account is debited and I’m sipping my coffee, while others are searching their pockets or under the seats of cars for loose change.

Another revolution in the world of finance is the tap feature on credit cards. When the chip came along, and we had to enter a pin, everyone was excited about the time saved at cashiers. Now, I find lines go even faster, as people simply hold their card to the machine, get their bill and leave the store.

I hear naysayers chastise the technology, fearful of losing their fortune through thievery; however I have not spoken to anyone who has been victimized by credit cards which use the tap feature. More and more companies are offering payment solutions through your smart phone, and security is becoming better with encryption technology leading the field.

Google and Apple are forging ahead with the ability to make purchases using your smart phone. In the U.S., Google Wallet and Apple Pay are quickly becoming a way of life for consumers, and why not? You carry your phone everywhere you go, and it is (or certainly should be) password protected. A friend told me recently how risky it would be to use your phone to pay for goods. What if you lost it? I explained it was encrypted and extremely difficult to break into. Ironically, he lost his wallet a few days later, compromising his privacy and financial well-being. I guess he did not have a password on his wallet.

Our entire way of shopping is changing with stores like Amazon and EBay, making it extremely convenient to purchase anything at any time. Amazon recently surpassed Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer. I must admit I find it much easier to surf Amazon for 20 minutes and finding what I need, then to drive an hour so looking for similar items in stores. Best of all, I can pay for it using my PayPal account, never having to compromise my credit cards online.

I know we’re still in the early stages of this technology, but it is being embraced by the majority of people, and it is certainly here to stay. Oh, look at the time, I must go and rush to the bank before it closes so I can get the teller to update my passbook.

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