Tag Archives: Verizon

Google Wallet makes mobile payments a reality.

Years ago, when I was working in mobile marketing, mobile payments were all the rage.

Brands were just starting to experiment with SMS, and premium SMS messaging offered content creators an opportunity to monetize their mobile campaigns.

If someone with a text-messaging enabled mobile device saw your call to action, “Text WAYNE to 12345 to get Lil’ Wayne’s newest single!”), they could type in the keyword, send it to a short code and Voila! they were listening to Weezy right from their mobile phone.

Of course, it didn’t always work that smoothly or all the time.

If you had Verizon phone, for example, which restricted hyperlinks, good luck trying to click through to the URL provided on the link you received.

Or if you hit your monthly messaging limit, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages at all.

And at the time, mobile payments were restricted to paying for premium mobile content on your wireless carrier bill.

In order to complete a purchase, there was a double opt-in process, where the user had to validate that they wanted the content and understood the costs and conditions associated with the offer.

Typically, taking advantage of these premium offers involved giving your wireless carrier AND the aggregator AND (in some instances) the content platform provider a portion of the fees associated with that purchase.

Subscription chat lines and information services, like KGBKGB, sprung up to tap into users’ voracious appetite for texting.

You couldn’t buy tangible things with your mobile device.

Outside of wallpapers, ringtones and music downloads, mobile content was the only thing you could really purchase.

Today, that’s no longer the case.

Smartphones, mobile web sites, and mobile apps let you use your mobile phone to purchase virtually anything.

You’re no longer tethered to your wireless carrier if you want buy something.

iTunes and the proliferation of copycat app stores mean that you can cop plenty of compelling content right to your device.

And not have AT&T or Verizon Wireless mucking about in the transaction.

But there’s a different mobile payments space growing and maturing.

We’ve seen early glimpses of that with PayPal.

Apps like Square that have turned your mobile phone into a payment processing center.

In Europe and Asia, paying using your mobile device is commonplace.

But here in the states, the growth of mobile payments has advanced at a snail’s pace.

Until now.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that allows its users to store their debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their mobile phones.

Using near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets users make secure payments by simply tapping their phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

Although Google Wallet launched in 2011, it was only this August, that they set up expanded support to all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What does it all mean?

Well for one, you’re no longer reduced to making mobile payments solely with PayPal.

More importantly, the tedious process of entering your payment information, name, address, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc., is as simple as providing your username and password.

This is a real boon for online retailers, who see the majority of their drop offs occurring at checkout.

The best thing about Google Wallet, unlike PayPal (the carriers) and virtually any other merchant processing system, is that they don’t charge processing fees.

No fees?

That’s awesome!

Mind you, I’m not a Google person myself.

Google Wallet doesn’t work on iOS devices.

So unless there’s an app in the works, hundreds of millions of Apple users will be in the dark.

But big up to all you Android users, who have the ability to truly experience what the mobile revolution is shaping up to be…

At least as it relates to mobile payments.

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile, technology

I can’t live without my hotspot! Can you?

Do you remember back in the day when the only way to get a wireless Internet connection on your laptop was a bulky wireless card?

In order to achieve wireless access, you had to have surgery on your machine and have a card mounted inside of it.

If you were lucky, there was a slot on your laptop where you could connect this unwieldy device.

But most people simply didn’t have those high end machines (with the right ports) and couldn’t afford the expensive rates attached to those cards.

As demand for wireless access grew, wireless antennae technology improved more devices started to include USB ports to accommodate wireless cards.

But the wireless deals attached to those cards still weren’t all that attractive.

If you had the type offered by Verizon or Sprint, they were large oddly shaped apparati that prevented you from connecting any other peripheral to your laptop.

Slowly but surely, manufacturers started realizing how ugly their wireless cards were, and began creating more elegant wireless cards.

Now you could pull out a sleek key fob, plug it into a USB slot and viola! you were on the interweb.

Then came wireless hotspots.

And they changed the game.

These standalone units didn’t require you to plug a wireless card/antennae to your machine.

You could simply set it up and go.

Despite carriers’ efforts to make these devices affordable, they typically required contracts and were fairly expensive.

Even with the pay-as-you-go offerings of T-Mobile et al, adoption of this new fangled technological offering was tepid.

Fast forward a few years and now your mobile phone, which is already a multi function device, is also a hotspot!

Not only can you access the Internet from your phone, you can access the Internet from any wireless device (PC, tablet) using your phone as a wireless hub.

As an Apple user, ‘tethering’ has been available for some time.

It was a little known feature, and one that Apple disabled for a time.

But when it was active, you could connect your iPhone to your MacBook and connect to the internet.

Now, it’s a standard feature of multiple mobile phone providers, and an absolute staple in my life.

This past Sunday my daughter had horrible asthma attack, which came out of nowhere.

And instead of watching the season premier of Homeland, I spent the night at the ER at St. Barnabas hospital in Livingston.

What I thought was going to be a routine visit and minor inconvenience, turned out to be a serious medical emergency resulting in my daughter being admitted to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit).

Well there goes Homeland!

I ended up spending the next four nights at St. Barnabas, disconnected from the world.

Of course, my daughter’s medical emergency fell on the day before multiple projects were set to launch or had major deliverables due, and I could not afford to NOT be available.

Thankfully, I had my iPhone 5 with ‘Personal Hotspot’ and was able to work and interact with the outside world.

I could connect via Wi Fi, Bluetooth or USB, and it was an absolute lifesaver.

Now, I don’t know if you’re one of those folks who still have to pull out a USB stick and shove it into your computer to get on the internet, when you’re out and about.

But there’s a more elegant way to jump online…

Use the hotspot on your phone.

And if your phone doesn’t have a hotspot feature…

Get rid of it and get one that does.

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Filed under digital advocacy, iPhone, mobile, technology