I’m usually the kind of person that wants to see how something works for other people before trying it myself. So I’ve been dragging my feet on the whole Apple Pay/Google Pay thing. But if there’s one thing that can drag me into a new technology, it’s the opportunity to save money. So when one of my credit cards started offering 5% cash back for using their card with these services this quarter, I jumped on board.
Most major retailers are equipped to accept electronic payments now. So I set up my Google Pay account and attached the credit card with the 5% cash back. And off to the grocery store I went. Instead of pulling out my credit card at the register, I just tapped my smartphone to the signature pad. And boom….I was done. No signature. No waiting. No exchange of cash. Just tap and done.
This is a whole new world. Very quick payment. No need to have credit cards on my person. I can see this as being very useful when I go out for a longer run or bike ride and might want to stop to buy myself a beverage or snack. And if the vendors at music festivals start accepting Google Pay, I’ll certainly be in my glory.
But on the flip side, I can see this new technology as a bit dangerous to the budget. As we’ve moved from a cash society into the world of plastic, it has become a bit harder to keep track of how much money you actually have available to you. You no longer have to consciously make a trip to the ATM to spend more than you have planned. And the ability to pay by tapping your phone without even digging out a card makes it seem even less like real money.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you keep your phone screen locked if you are using this. If your screen is unlocked and you lose your phone, the finder would be able to run around charging up a storm on your account. You should be keeping your screen locked anyway, but this is just another reason to do so.
Electronic payment technology is definitely easy and fast. But it has a down side as well. For now I’m going to give it a thumbs up, but with the caveat to proceed with caution.