The future of money

It’s looking more and more like paper money and coins are becoming redundant. For many carrying cold hard cash on them is far less convenient than slipping a slim bank card in their pocket.

Yet in the future it looks like credit cards might be as rare to see as the queen’s head. According to a new research report, everything from a pint at your local to a bus ticket home will be purchased using a mobile phone.

The new mobile payments will be made possible thanks to a technology called near field communication (NFC) and it could be ready for widespread use across the UK by 2011.

The report called ‘NFC: The Road to Commercial Deployment’ is authored by Sarah Clark, editor of online business site Near Field Communications World.

NFC, which is a wireless communication technology like Bluetooth, could be used to send payments from your bank account. Just by touching two NFC-enabled phones together a user can to transfer money to a friend, buy a drink or pay for a service.

The report also envisions a day when you can meet a new chum and automatically add them as a friend on Facebook by touching your NFC-enabled phones together.

Clark claims the technology can even be configured to open the front door to your house.

It might all sound a little too easy and possibly full of potential for hackers and identify fraudsters, but Clark is adamant the technology is highly secure.

‘Consumers will be able to instantly lock all the mobile wallet services on their phone if it is lost or stolen and then get them automatically transferred onto a new phone as soon as it arrives,’ she said. ‘They will also be able to use their phone to make payments even when the battery is flat.’