Slideshow 10 Imaginative Mobile Payment Methods

  • April 19 2013, 4:24pm EDT
11 Images Total

(Image: Thinkstock)

Sounding Off

Not every mobile phone has an NFC chip, but every phone has a microphone and companies like Alipay and shopkick have developed sound wave-based technologies that use ultrasonic audio signals to conduct transactions. (Image: Thinkstock)

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Digital 1D Bar Codes

Technology debuting in the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone can work with regular laser scanners by sending pulses of light from the phone, allowing consumers to use digital bar codes without requiring merchants to install specialized scanners. (Image: Mobeam)

Twitter Payments

Smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the dominant devices used for social media. Though the concept of facilitating payments through Twitter has been tried repeatedly, and with few success stories, it hasn’t deterred efforts from companies like Dwolla, which lets users send money via tweets, and Chirpify, the social media payments company. (Image: Thinkstock)

Time is Money

Watch2Pay offers a wristwatch that enables contactless payments by embedding a MasterCard PayPass contactless chip that’s linked to a prepaid card account. And among the rumors surrounding the development of an Apple “smart” watch is speculation that the device would incorporate Apple’s Passbook mobile wallet. (Image: Watch2Pay)

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Payments on the Radar

Using the location-based capabilities of smartphones, PayPal and Square allow their mobile-wallet users to pay by checking in at merchant locations with an app that transmits their photo to the merchant for authentication. There's also the MeNetwork mobile marketing service recently acquired by Spindle, and hospitality-focused systems like Tabbedout. (Image: Thinkstock)

Flipping the Script

Many mobile wallets ask the consumer to present a QR code to the merchant for redemption. But in Brazil, PicPay is flipping the model by making the consumer scan codes presented by the merchant. (Image: PicPay)

Can’t Touch This

The now-defunct Pay By Touch let consumers authorize grocery purchases by swiping a finger over a biometric sensor. The service was perhaps ahead of its time, as companies including Discover continue to search for ways to incorporate biometrics and payments technology. (Image: Thinkstock)

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Person-to-person payments have been slow to take off, largely due to challenges with bank integration and transaction times. But services like Fiserv’s Popmoney have incorporated real-time transactions and mobile apps to make P2P payments more effective. (Image: Thinkstock)

Say Cheese!

Why type in a 16-digital credit card number when you can use a smartphone camera to capture an image of the data? Offerings from Jumio and PayPal’s work on both smartphones and computer Web cams and also can authenticate ID cards. (Image:

Augmented Reality

The next pioneering mobile pay tech may come from augmented reality technologies like Google Glass. The Internet-connected eyeglasses run on the Android mobile operating system and integrate other Google products. Pictured: Sergey Brin (Image: Bloomberg)