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The New Definition of “Pay Phone”

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, most major transactions in the future won’t be made in person with cash or credit. Instead, the smart phone revolution will continue to grow as a “mobile wallet,” fully capable of making a variety of mobile payments through applications such as Google Wallet and hardware like the Square. The Square is a miniscule plastic device that connects to any USB port that essentially turns phones into cash registers. Below is a picture of the Square and all its glory.

Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard University, told CNN.com that, “there is nothing more imaginary than a monetary system. The idea that we hand out printed slips of paper in exchange for food and water shows just how trusting and fond of patterned behavior we human beings are.” I have always found the notion of currency in the form of paper and coin to be wasteful of natural resources when all our funds could be handled digitally. While security issues have been cited as a reason for more traditional transactions, this innovative technology seems just as “dangerous” as modern-day credit cards, as both rely on a computer system relaying a set of numbers to access bank account information. While this technology is somewhat prototypical and is just starting to garner attention, 65 percent of the survey’s respondents felt that this new technology would be the main source of financial transactions by 2020. Maybe this method of payment is a bit more impersonal than speaking with a salesperson and handing over cash. But in today’s world of speed and efficiency, it was only a matter of time.