Silicon Valley Testing New Credit Card Tools

Powerful, new cell phones and inexpensive tracking technology have reignited the market for mobile credit card payment systems, according to industry analysts. A recent report in the San Jose Mercury News profiled tools under development in Silicon Valley that may soon see widespread adoption throughout the rest of the United States, such as:

  • MobiBucks, a stored value debit card service that uses a customer's own mobile phone number as their account number. Customers simply enter their phone number and PIN at a checkout device.
  • Bling Nation, a system that allows a subscriber to attach a flat tracking sticker to the back of their mobile phone. The customer waves the phone at a checkout scanner, authorizing a credit card transaction.
  • Obopay, a service that allows customers to authorize credit card transactions using text messages.

While California has long been a testing ground for new payment technologies, a recent innovation from Starbucks and Target shows that some wild ideas can graduate to the mainstream. Using mobile phone applications, coffee lovers can display a bar code at the Starbucks register inside Target stores. The bar code links to a Starbucks Card or to a credit card registered online, eliminating a grab for the wallet.

About the Author


Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.