On the flip side, Google Wallet just went nationwide in a different way. Wallet can now pay through any major credit card, and you can tap your phone anywhere MasterCard’s PayPass system is installed. That’s generally fast food and pharmacy chains, at least in smaller cities and towns. I loaded up my cards onto Google Wallet, went into a local Burger King where I knew there was a PayPass installation, and … the phone told me to ask the cashier if the tap went through, and the cashier was more than surprised I was trying to wave my phone at his credit card station. (I detailed the Wallet/fast-food conundrum in the last 10 minutes of episode 10 of In Beta, my podcast with Gina Trapani). I’ll try Wallet again, but even when it works perfectly, it’s mainly in use at places where you’re grabbing something quickly and trying to get out, and where credit cards are almost as fast.
Still, combining the SquareBucks announcement with the wider Wallet availability, and you can see a selection of folks making the jump not just to cashless buying, but cardless buying. The customer of the future is here, and their face is on your iPad.