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Oh, the Different Ways to Pay Today (Not by Doctor Seuss)

Rantings the ways to pay

Mark, Mega Millions tickets cost 2 dollars now?!? I don’t have 2 dollars in my wallet... I don’t have any dollars in my wallet!

And due to my lack of paper currency, if I’m not in it, I can’t win it. And I wanna win it, which has got me to thinking (again) about the new(er) ways to pay. When we last tackled the topic, I think we were ranting about wearable rings, speedos, the Rio Games and maybe Ryan Lochte’s hair. We’re now approaching a saturation point when it comes to places (on the body) to put payment mechanisms (especially if you’re in Rio!).

We have rings, we have glasses, we have wristbands, we have articles of clothing, and we even have NFC tokens implanted into our skin… and we both think someone will have a QR code tattoo just in time for CES (and if you actually see one, please DM us a photo!!).

But back to my dilemma—no cash, therefore no lottery ticket. I smiled at the store clerk; I attempted to fist pump the store clerk; I winked at the store clerk; I even sang a little Ave Maria to the store clerk… but alas, none of these attempts worked… no cash, no ticket (the figurative Dante Hicks and Randal Graves weren’t impressed).

That said, all the aforementioned tricks/methods I deployed could net me a non-lotto product at various stores—be it a sarsaparilla, a Moxie or a birch beer, depending on my whereabouts within the contiguous 48 or at least the ones that participate in the Mega Millions and Powerball draws…

Mark Ranta: So Dan, let’s start with breaking down these methods you tried to deploy on the unsuspecting clerk (who I assume is re-watching this security footage with enthusiasm at this very second) into two buckets. The first we’ll label biometrics and the second we’ll label NFC.

We’ll start with the Biometrics bucket, which includes your shifty eyes and smiling as well as your thumb and hand print and what I am sure is the most Will Ferrell-esq rendition of Ave Maria. We’d have to take this bucket and subdivide again, you have two that require a camera (shifty eyes and smiling), two that require a screen/physical reader (thumb and hand print) and one that requires a microphone (your falsetto voice, which actually carries the same biomarkers as your talking voice or cold voice).

Lucky for you, most people have something in their pocket that can solve all three, and more and more stores have similar devices that can do the same as well with tablets and new touch screens at the POS. As the technology here continues to improve, and more folks get comfortable with using various parts of themselves to identify, we will certainly see an uptick of consumers doing some form of this head, shoulders, knees and toes game you were playing.

Now, swinging to the NFC side, your fist bump, tip of your glasses and pulling out your mobile phone, which I hope for your sake they knew was a phone and not something else… The NFC play is likely one that the clerks have all become more accustom to, though they may not have had rings or glasses used for payment; but they certainly have seen folks like yourself try and use their phone to pay.

What goes unsaid here is most of the mobile pay forms today require a thumbprint to unlock the payment type in the first place, so we have already crisscrossed our two buckets, but I digress.

Dan Ring: Didn’t Kriss Kross sing “Jump?” The Mark Ranta make me wanna jump, jump! Err, sorry, as you were saying…

MR: You have certainly opened up the can of worms on how you could “Macarena” a payment type… (is that reference too dated already or just dated enough to be certified fresh?). Either way, the moral of the story here is we will continue to see a growing list of ways to initiate a payment, and probably some things we haven’t thought of yet will be introduced at CES; the fun will start when it doesn’t require you as the consumer to have a device or token on your person at the checkout, just your rendition of Ave Maria will do the trick and you’ll be able to walk out with your oddly satisfying soda (but likely still no lotto ticket any time soon).

DR: I will happily sing Ave Maria, dance the Macarena and “jump jump” the day I can buy a lotto ticket with a wink or a fist pump!