a.k.a. 2G card, 2G plastic, digital wallet, cashless mobile payment system

A portable personal profile that stores a user's shipping address, billing address, and credit card information in one secure place. The idea is to have only one "e-wallet," so that a user can make purchases across a variety of Web sites without having to reenter a bunch of information (see: sticky content).

It is interesting to note that when a technology or concept such as this emerges, the companies involved (and there are many) must adopt a standard to which they all will conform (otherwise, the technology may not gain acceptance). The emerging standard for this technology is ECML but overall, PayPal continues to dominate the online payment industry, however Google Wallet is taking advantage of the cloud.

The perceived next-generation of a cashless mobile payment system is the 2G card equipped with a microprocessor allowing users to redeem their accumulated rewards points and potentially get their purchase for "free" anytime they swipe. But in fact, mobile payment apps have become popular. Instead of the card, which looks like an actual credit card but it's designed with buttons, lights, and digital read-outs, the mobile payment apps reside on your smartphone. These high-tech programs have privacy advocates concerned about the additional identity theft opportunities of carrying around so much digital information.

Historical perspective: In August 2012, Google announced a new version of its mobile payments app Google Wallet. The update allows users to load any major U.S. credit or debit card to your smartphone. The new Google Wallet is cloud-based, meaning you store all your cards online and access them on your phone or your web browser. You also have the option to disable Google Wallet on your phone in case it gets lost or stolen. Google is able to do this because Wallet no longer stores credit card information on your phone. It's all stored online, just like Amazon and other shopping sites store your credit card data.

In that same month, Starbucks became the first national chain to allow customers to pay for their purchases with the mobile-payments app Square. Beginning in the fall of 2012, 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. allow customers to pay with a simple tap of their smart phone. Square, which is already used by about 40,000 businesses nationwide, also received a $25 million investment from Starbucks, putting it in closer competition with rival payment app Google Wallet. So far, everyone is still using PayPal.

NetLingo Classification: Online Business