The dream of turning a smartphone into a credit card is rapidly becoming a reality. Google might be the first to take the leap with its new Google Wallet app, but it certainly isn't the only company that will soon be providing smartphone users with a way to turn their mobile phones into credit cards. Square has announced that it is deep in development of a new credit card app, Card Case, that runs on Apple tablets and Android smartphones.
Payment information stored as "tabs"
How does this differ from the Google Wallet app announced earlier in the week? Unlike Google Wallet, which can be used with only specific payment cards at this time (Citi MasterCard or prepaid Google card), Card Case can store processing information for a variety of cards - but that's not all it does.
Rather than acting as a direct credit card payment app, Card Case is considered a "tab" application - it stores credit card information connected with individual tabs or accounts registered with a customer's favorite merchants. Anytime a Card Case customer shops at a participating store or restaurant where they have an account, the merchant can pull up their "tab" and put payment on the credit card registered to that Card Case account.
Never carry cash or plastic again
As long as customers have their smartphones at their sides, there may soon be no need to carry cash or credit cards. Despite some concerns about the security of the financial information stored in these apps, Square and Google - among others - may soon take over the payment industry, if they have their way.
Does this mean the end of the credit card era? Not by a long shot. If the top rated credit cards were to go out of business tomorrow, there would be no financial information to enter in your Card Case or Google Wallet account - and no purpose to these new apps. The manufacturers of the plastic cards themselves may have more to worry about.