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Mobile Money

When your smart phone is your wallet.  Swipe the phone.  Pay the bill.  We’ll look at life and cash in the age of mobile payment.

A person tries a smartphone loaded with Google Wallet at the National Retail Federation, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 in New York. (AP)

A person tries a smartphone loaded with Google Wallet at the National Retail Federation, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 in New York. (AP)

“Cash in hand” is a phrase with a certain ring to it. It may soon sound antique. The world of banking and retail, of Google and smart phones, is gearing up to say goodbye to cash. Mobile payment is the big new buzz. No coins. No bills. No credit card.

Just step up in the store and wave your smartphone. Transaction complete. The money gone, from your account to theirs.  It’s already fully on in Europe and Asia.  It’s about to go big in the USA.  With all kinds of implications.

This hour, On Point:  the smart phone as your new wallet.  Mobile payment, and the end of cash.

-Tom Ashbrook


Michael Copeland, senior editor at WIRED, where he focuses on all things related to the business of technology.

Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

Hilary Cherniss, owner of Devil’s Teeth Baking Company.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wired “Square releases the total dollar amount of sales that go through the system, not the total number of transactions. The most recent number puts total Square-enabled sales at more than $5 billion per year. That gets you to about $14 million per day. Since this snapshot captures a high activity part of the day across the entire U.S (not much being sold between midnight and 5 A.M.) this one hour likely represents several million dollars in sales. Square’s take in a hour? About $60,000.”

Fortune “Café Grumpy is the kind of hipster hangout that wouldn’t deign to trumpet itself. Tucked away on a quiet street in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, it’s easy to miss. There’s no sign out front, just a frowning face stenciled on a large shop window. And yet when I walked in for the first time, I immediately felt like one of the regulars. “Charge it to Miguel,” I told the barista after ordering a cappuccino, and charge it he did — to my phone.”

US Banker “The use of mobile payments among U.S. consumers has grown dramatically in the past year, an IDC Financial Insights study released yesterday has found. A third of consumers — 33.9% — make purchases with their mobile phone, according to the survey of 2,663 U.S. adults.”

Video: Square In Action

In this commercial, you can see the two types of Square transactions.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Wm. James from Missouri

    I can certainly see a use for products such as this / these, however, this kind of “ money” will only produce more economic troubles for the average person in the long run. We don’t need to encourage people to spend money, they don’t have, without thinking about the consequences of their purchases. Consider two economies, one with easy use electronic money and one based on hard to get money, such as gold and silver. Which type of money will produce the most savvy and critical consumer ? Which type of money will result in more junk for the landfill ? True, each form of money will have advantages and fast and easy spending will result in a higher velocity of money and therefore greater sales and economies of scale, etc., but are we losing implicit wealth ? Is there a numismatic argument to be made ? I cut up my ATM cards some years ago. I found that I was spending money even faster than I did on my credit card ?

    When I was a young boy some coinage was still made with silver. It was “free” in the sense that the silver came with the money that you were paid with. Now if you want to buy a silver dollar, I.e, Silver Eagle, ( Note: there were no silver eagles when I was a boy), you will have to pay more than $ 27.00 , US Paper, for something that SAYS, ONE DOLLAR ! Money traders are well aware of the value of a dollar today. Are you ?

    Instead, I would like you to consider a form of money that has dual use or even many uses other than just a “medium of exchange”. It has been suggested by Ray Kurzweil ( one of my favorite people ), that computer chips could be made to self assemble into actual usable products. When you were done with this “dust” ( as he has called it) , the user could order (via some command program and or method ) the chips to disassemble and reassemble into something else ! The advantage to using bags of smart money dust would be that, if counterfeited, the counterfeiter would actually be producing more potential wealth ! Money would no longer be the root of all evil, rather, it just might become our economic savior ?

    That was just one novel idea. Can you think of more. I suggest creating solar cells that double as coins.  When you were not using the cells as money you could use them to power devices. Instead of putting your money in a piggy bank that just sits there, you could put your “coinage” into slots in a panel, that powered something or fed into the grid.

    These are just two ideas. What is your imagination telling you ?

    • Steve

      When I was a younger, I would go to the laundrymat coin changers until my money, such that it was, was converted to mercury head dimes and “silver” quarters.
      I was an avid coin collector and more than a little geeky.

      My friends spent their cash on soda and the like.

      Today my close to $1000 dollars in face value silver is worth quite a bit – I am giving it to my children.

      A friend’s family likewise collected silver dollars and had started doing so in the 1880′s.
      Once in his basement he showed me a wall lined with gallons jars filled with silver dollars.

      Thank you for the Ray Kurzweil connection.

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        It is sad to think that there is an entire segment of the population that has never even seen “ real” money ! Many haven’t even held a silver or gold coin or witnessed its’ beauty up close. If you ever have the opportunity to hold an 1804 Silver Dollar or well made copy, do it. You will quickly become aware of the weight of the coin and will be somewhat mesmerized by its’ beauty. A real Lewis and Clark moment !

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I’ve been using a Square card reader on both my iPhone and iPad as well as their digital wallet on my iPhone for a while now and both are incredible. When NFC becomes a standard it will change retail commerce forever the way credit cards have changed online commerce forever.

    The Square credit card reader allows me to take credit cards without the hassle of applying for a merchant account at a bank or having to use any of the older credit card verification and recording technologies: swipe the card in a small reader plugged into my iPhone, put in the amount and any notes on the transaction, have the card holder sign the iPhone and that’s it. We both get an email confirming the transaction and that’s it.

    Another great example of this is Apple’s retail store app. With that app on your iPhone, you walk into an Apple store, take a product off the shelf, scan it with your iPhone, and walk out. No one has to be involved in the trisection except you (unless you need help).Both of these systems represent the early stages of a disruptive technology that is coming on fast.

    No doubt there will be folks in this “community” who think this is one more layer of abstraction that will force (some) people into debt and those folks will be right for some people but not all people.

    Some folks find a credit or even a debit card too abstract and can’t control spending when they have virtual cash (and a line of credit for money they don’t have). But, not everyone will abuse this technology just like not everyone abuses their credit card(s).

    And, some will say this is a conspiracy by big banks to get even more money out of every transaction and those people would be wrong: Systems like Square and PayPal make life easier for average people of average means to do brick and mortar and online transactions without having merchant relationships with big banks.

  • Elihu

    IEEE Spectrum has an excellent special issue reviewing both social and technical aspects of this evolution:
    It’s a little short on countervailing views, and some authors to assume that the change is inevitable and will be nearly complete. With so many “retro” trends in society, though, one wonders.

  • Hidan

    A hackers wet dream. 

  • AC

    this is so funny! on the ‘global economical stall’ show a bit ago i suggested that panhandlers needed smartphones with the square app because i can see a time in the very near future this is the norm.
    i also mentioned i find ‘cash only’ places somewhat suspicious, that they must be laundering money or something for drug dealers.
    Someone mentioned sometimes it was good not to leave a paper trail, but i’m not an interesting enough person to figure out why not? does any one have a good example for that?

    (also, i am aware of the negative side effects of praising this tech; bank teller job are disappearing, but it is so darn convenient!)

    • Steve

      Convenience comes at a cost.
           -higher prices (online/brick and mortar) 
           -less local control ( and I believe ultimately less
           -the manipulation of wealth
           -taxation without representaion
           -tracking of personal information (health, buying
             habits, vices)
           -tracking of association

      None of thest are underlying truths – only possible ramifications.

      We are now in a “golden age” for much of this technology-wonderful toys.
      It has not yet been harnessed for good or for ill.

    • BEEZ

      I venture to guess most of the cash only business don’t want to pay the 3-6% fee to the credit card companies. Most of these places are usually the likes of small restaurants.

      • AC

        they don’t just defray the cost into their price points? why not, i wonder?

        • BEEZ

          Because they can’t afford it! They don’t have the same purchasing power as larger companies, therefore, their goods are often bought at a higher price. Ever wonder why the corner bodega is generally more expensive than the supermarket?

          • AC

            maybe it’s because i’m usually in urban env, tho i have been in some mind-numbingly rural areas too (i travel a lot), but it’s very very rare i run into a situation that is cash-only anymore….

  • BEEZ

    Mark of the Beast

  • karen

    Not everyone can afford a fancy smartphone and when the power goes out (i.e. Katrina or Ike or Joplin tornado) the little machines that read that phone will not work. So a little paper money will always have its uses.

    • AC

      good point!
      altho, last time the power went out, i just used my car charger…

      • Sam Walworth

         lol, what about when there is no power in the town or for miles just like we had a few days ago…

  • ToyYoda

    I went to my gym once and left my iPhone in my locker.  Two people posing as staff and as someone who forgot his locker combination, physically broke  the lock on my locker in front of others.

    They stole my iphone and since I didn’t password my iiphone, they were able to enter my iphone screen, and start buying itunes music. They stole over $200.00 worth of music, before I was able to shutdown my account.

    I love the march of technology, but having my phone stolen gives me pause.  Not only do we have to worry about brick-n-mortar thieves, we have to worry about hackers, and we also have to worry about whether these electronic payment companies possess good security.  The latter should not be taken for granted.  Yahoo was recently hacked and 200,000 account users passwords were posted online.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Turning passcode on would certainly have solved this. I have it on most of the time, especially when traveling.

  • BHA in Vermont

    As if we didn’t have enough problems with credit card thefts with devices added to card readers at gas pumps, etc. Now all the thieves have to do is hang out near a register and steal your CC info wirelessly.

  • Ping1

    Silver and Gold…The only true currency

    • AC

      no way – there are many rare earth metals that are worth far, far more than silver or gold….

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Sounds like Yukon Jack from “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

      • Brett

        I thought his name was Yukon Cornelius? …It’s been a long time, though.  

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           That’s right–Christmas was a few months ago. . .

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    There are still lots of businesses that prefer cash.  These tech people need to spend more time in the less trendy parts of the country.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      It’s not all or nothing, why frame it that way? I carry cash, credit card, debit card (cash), and an iPhone. I use the NFC piece of the iPhone when I can, when I can’t I use whatever the merchant wants. Simple.

  • Cody

    what will happen to people who don’t use electronics i.e. Amish communities?

  • superfinehelios

    First if you’re going to use a smart phone you need to be smart.  I wouldn’t have one without password protecting it. Also take the extra measure of buying a phone with a function and service to WIPE your phone or locking it remotely (you get what you pay for). I would bet that a company like Apple invests billions in their security. I don’t recall a situation when Apple has been hacked. That all said, I won’t be going this route.

  • superfinehelios

    Question….what mobile device cash paying service offers protection/reimbursement if you get hacked or an improper transaction happens? CCards protect me. Debit cards (maybe…I don’t use them much for transactions). I even think PayPal protects.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It’s funny – for a world “leader” we always seem to need to be dragged kicking and screaming into new technologies.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Not all paths go in the right direction.

  • Michael Tarantelli

    what i want to know is how we get the credit card companies fingers out of every transaction.  Thier cut is getting bigger and bigger and costing all of us   

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Simple, don’t use a credit card.

      If you want to use one then you’re using their system.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Eventually cash (the only currency for underground economies and black markets) will become synonymous with illegal behavior.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Oh my god, that commercial! It took so long to complete the transaction. I’m gonna throw three Abe Lincolns on the counter and be out of there. Have fun typing into your little phone for 45 seconds just to grab a cup of coffee. And it is a great idea to be tying your phone number in public in view of the pervert standing behind you. 

  • BHA in Vermont

    In an acronym:

  • superfinehelios

    I think this will just be another option. Seers saying that we won’t be able to use cash/ccards is ridiculous. How long has CASH been around and it’s STILL around right along side paypal, amazon, ccards.

  • J__o__h__n

    I try to pay by cash as often as possible.  I don’t want to be tracked and marketed to.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Does anyone care about privacy anymore?

  • Ben

    Tom: “Are you whipping out your smart phone at Starbucks?”

    The ultimate question of our age. It says everything you would ever want to know about a completely consumer society. How very, very sad.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      We have one more step to go – after we are all “chipped”  internally, we won’t even have to whip out the smartphone.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    PIN = personal identification number.  PIN number is redundant.

  • npr fan On Point Rocks

    scenario:  lay-off cashiers due to “efficiency;” robots steal more jobs, SkyNet rejoices. 

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    With the recent Visa/Mastercard settlement and court decision, where retailers are going to be able to offer discounts for cash, is cash really on the way out in an economy where so many people are literally counting pennies and story after story about banks and CC issuers being hacked?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The main reason for this new technology is to create yet another middleman, who of course gets their “cut” of the transaction.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Not true. Have you got a Square account? How do you know that?

  • Greyman

    The extinction of currency (cash and coin) propelled by our dutiful technology looks as likely as the extinction of books (paper and ink) propelled by e-reader screens and laptop monitors. In its blind “war against the palpable”, to use a new metaphor, technology thus continues to display anti-Higgs properties: it deprives us of the reality of mass, taking palpable things out of our hands and out of circulation in order to render them in terms of fluid energy readings. Human acquaintance and taste for mass rather than raw energy fields may yield not a new Luddite movement but an appreciation for limits of technological appropriation and assimilation. (I write as someone who owns no smart phone and has made a total of two calls on cell phones.) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/skiatomic08 Bradley Stewart

    many retailers already have this technology. its not only mobile app specific. nfc chips have been implemented in many credit cards already. almost any mcdonald’s has a PayPass where you can tap your card on the pinpad. many retailers don’t have to implement these devices since they already have them.

  • Sawyerfarm2006

    This is not new Tech it has been in Europe and Japan for years. We just always have to try and recreate the system to a uniqulely American which makes things more difficult and convoluted.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Just because “they” do it doesn’t make it good.

    • Jasoturner

      You will recall that Americans are seemingly obsessed with asserting that we are the “best”, be it healthcare, education, markets, liberty or what have you.  To objectively assess alternatives that already exist and function well in other countries runs contrary to this approach.  Not all alternatives are good, not all are bad.  But to dismiss them out of hand, as we tend to do, is pretty dumb.  Just look at our healthcare costs compared with other modern societies.  Why in the world are we not debating their best practices rather than battling each other in court here while we try to reinvent the wheel?

  • Lois McNulty

    Oh My! Did I just hear Tom describe a transaction as “zipless?”
    Does our esteemed host realize the implied inference of that term? Yikes!

    • Mike Card

      Didn’t he interview Erica Jong once a few years ago?

  • Walter

    Please discuss Bitcoin

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Totally different system, not related at all. Fascinating system but totally underground.

  • TFRX

    From the American “Max Headroom” series, a line which has stuck with me for years:

    “Credit fraud? That’s worse than murder!”

    • J__o__h__n

      I just rewatched that series last week. 

      • TFRX

        Sounds like something I should do soon, too.

        Have you seen the original? Some friends I have were “raised” on the English one and couldn’t accept the American one.

        • J__o__h__n

          I haven’t.  They mentioned it in the DVD extras and I thought it looked interesting. 

  • http://dwolla.com Jordan Lampe


    Disclosure: I work for Dwolla

  • ToyYoda

    How creepy is this?  Your phone and store owners know where you eat and what you buy, and if you’re in the neighborhood.

    Just imagine, it also knows where you buy your condoms and  by proxy, if you’re in a relationship or not, and when it’s about to break up.  And of course, your phone will then be able to buzz you of the relationship counselor around the corner, or have them meet you unexpectedly as you walk by.  

    And who knows?  Somehow, you’ll get a privacy setting on facebook messed up and before you know it, everyone knows about your sex habits and relationship status.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      It doesn’t quite work that way (at least with Square) and you can turn of location services on any app, including Square or any NFC app.

  • J__o__h__n

    Is there a device that will let me charge the phone of someone who is talking on it on the train to compensate me for their annoying behavior?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      It’s called an EMP device.  That’ll give the phone a good charge.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Always being on-line and on-line always being with you–did this corporate shill just call that great?

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      You should talk, you spend enough time in these comment threads that you have no leg to stand on.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    This is not simplicity and convenience.  Not all of us are running around with Smartphones.  Not everyone wants a Smartphone.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      So don’t get one. No one is forcing you to.

  • John

    The whole point is to make it easier for me to consume more. Am I the only person who sees this as deeply problematic on so many fronts?

  • Yar

    Cash does have a fee, it is hidden.  Products have the transaction fees built in so the mode of the transaction doesn’t matter.
    I would like to use this at the farmers’ markets. 

    • Steve

      I do not believe this to be true Yar.

      I try to pay cash for philosophical reasons.
      I am able to negotiate much better prices using cash.

  • Walter

    Mastercard can ….. .. ….   Bitcoin has no central (scum skimming) authority – transaction fees? ZERO.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Bitcoin is not accepted in very many places, certainly not a single brick and mortar store. So, it’s great for certain things but it’s not gonna make it I’m afraid.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Electronics make theft far, far more efficient! Let’s make theft even easier! There are bots infesting every type of electronic device. Think of these electronic transactions as a tax. Vendors pay 2.75% tax to the banks on every transaction ergo we pay that tax. I can negotiate better deals with vendors on large purchases by not using a credit card. I’ll stick with cash when I can and use plastic for air miles.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Chief Payments Officer?  There’s a disturbing title.

  • unwired

    Tom and guest; Being “wired” or not to ” wire”; I challenge you to read completely the unabomber manifesto; of course it’s online. Ted Kaczynski , you might remember? He addresses  technology quite extensively.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Use cash. Buy local. Put money into your local economy instead of pushing all your local retailers profits into paying for transaction fees.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Then again I wonder when we’ll get to the point where banks start charging handling fees for dealing with cash?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        Then again I expect handling fees for dealing with cash will really happen – it’s the one way banks can get a piece of underground/illegal transactions.

  • atakemoto

    I don’t have a smart phone.  I don’t want a smart phone.  Where does this leave me in the future?

  • sheryl

    I am a retailer who already loses over $100,000 (yes, I am talking 6 figures!) to banks in credit card fees. This is for consumer convenience not the merchant’s, so the consumer should pay all fees! I cannot afford this consumer convenience as it is. Because of exorbitant credit card fees, it is impossible for me to make a profit at my store.

    • Jeffe

      Have you thought of offering a discount for cash?
      I shop at a local food market and they only take cash.
      No cards or checks. They are always busy.

    • Adks12020

      Did you hear about the new law that may be passed allowing you to pass those fees on to the consumers?  I’m curious, since you have to deal with such a high costs of fees, what you think about that? Would you do it or is it too risky to charge your customers those fees and possibly lose them?

  • Walter

    And we all know who ultimately winds up paying those ‘vendor’ fees… 

  • Outcropacres

    Hoping this process will facilitate the incorporation of all types of credit cards (e.g. individual stores), the countless number of reward programs and coupons.  This will eliminate clutter in my life — so, sign me up now!

  • Jim

    It’s frightening. Cash is king, I have no credit cards and go to the bank/atm, withdraw to make a purchase. it’s impossible to overdraft your account, and makes you live within your means. you also get the pyschological effect of peeling off $20 bills, whereas swiping a card you never see your money

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Exactly. Good for you. There are times when virtual money is useful but if you can work around that great.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    If I’m going swimming, I’m likely with the only person that I really want to communicate with, so I leave the phone at home.

    • Mike Card

      If you go swimming at the beach in SF, you’re likely the only one in the water!

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I did say “if.”  Of course, here in Arkansas, a beach means the edge of a lake or a river, and there are too dang many cottonmouth snakes around to let the snapping turtles have a calm day in the water.

        • Mike Card

          I guess I was thinking that the water temp in the ocean there is 50-55; you might need your cell phone to call 911 when your toes start to freeze and break off!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    You can tell the patterns–in other words, if I decide to buy something unexpected, the bank shuts down my account?


  • Sherry

    I can see the convenience, but when there is a problem, it is a nightmare to get things straightened out.  There always seems to be plenty of people willing to talk on the phone to add money, but when there is a problem good luck.  I will stay local.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      How many problems have you had with these kinds of systems? I’ve had exactly 1 in hundreds of transactions, took a 3 minute phone call to sort out.

  • jefe68

    There are so many issues with this, from theft from someone getting into your account to just stealing your phone.

    I’m against this becoming a norm. The idea is all about the credit card companies making more money with fees and getting more people into debt.

    I don’t have a smart phone, I don’t want to spend all that money on something I hardly use. The idea of this becoming the norm is absurd. Not everyone wants a smart phone.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      So, don’t get a smart phone. My norm doesn’t have to be your norm. I don’t want to to be. Why try to make your norm my norm?

      • jefe68

        You do understand what this who was about?
        On some level there is a move here to create a norm that requires one to have a smart phone.
        By the way, I never said it my norm should be yours. Look up the word comprehension on your smart phone.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          I do understand what this was about, do you?

          Do you have ANY experience with tools like these?

          • jefe68

            Smart phones? Yes I do. I don’t need one so I don’t have one.
            You posts these comments as if people like myself who are questioning this kind of thing are somehow less than people like you who embrace technology with open arms.
            Without questioning the intent. That’s a bit much.

            This is not about the phone, it’s about money being controlled and manipulated and banks making being able to control it with fees. Fess that will affect the user and the merchant.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            What you don’t understand because you’re not using this technology is that the fees are the same or less than a typical merchant account. So, these kinds of tools democratize using a credit card to take money.

  • Joanna Eldridge

    I am concerned about the barriers to entry for the poor, the elderly and young children. Cash has no barrier to entry and a 3 year old, a homeless person, anew immigrant, and a senior with Alzheimer’s can all use it. Debit cards require a bank account and credit cards require credit to at least some degree. A smart phone costs several hundred dollars and often a 3 year contract which also requires credit. Everyone needs to be able to spend money.

  • BAS

    As someone who doesn’t even use a mobile (except a pay-as- you-go charged and turned off, stored in my car’s glove compartment for emergencies, $100/yr) the monthly cost of the smartphone service plus transaction charges seem mindboggling and I don’t easily see myself in this picture.  Aside from which it sounds like a loony dependency.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    These shills keep saying that it’s up to the consumer.  That’s the line that those types shovel, and when everyone accepts the line, it’s no longer up to the consumer.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Just what I need–my phone to be my nanny.  It makes me wonder what 00 buck would do to a Smartphone.

  • AndyF

    This is a REALLY bad idea…  Consider that in 2009, in the state of California 6,000 citizens were killed on California highways in accidents DIRECTLY related to Talking, Texting and Web Surfing on their mobile phones.  If you further consider that it took us 8 years to lose the same number in the Iraq War, this is an astonishing and should-be troubling figure!!!  And that is in ONE state, in ONE year.

    Now, imagine that along with Talking, Texting and Web Surfing, we now add Shopping – you KNOW its going to happen – young kids driving and shopping at the same time – mobile phones are becoming truly dangerous devices.

    Think for a moment about cigarette smoking – we NOW know its bad for you, really bad.  And it costs the society billions every year.  But did you know that when cigarettes were sold in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, they were advertised as a good thing.  In some cases, even as a healthy thing!  Knowing what we know now, would we allow that?  NO WAY.

    So here we are with these silly addictive devices killing thousands of Americans each year.  We also know that workplace productivity is way down when cell phones are permitted – many studies have shown this.

    And yet, what are we doing?  Coming up with MORE ways to have users bound to their phones!  This is like trying to argue that cigarettes are a good healthy thing and we should keep “improving” them.  That is absurd…

    …as is the idea that we can turn cell phones into cash devices without thinking about the deep and extensive downsides.  It just goes to show yet again that those who forget or ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  And our society, far from being “smart” just keeps getting more and more stupid all for the sake of big companies making more and more money.

  • D.B.

    I think mobile money is great however it will act as a further divide between the “haves” and “have nots”…the underground economy is all cash, no paper trail…I can’t see cash disappearing for that reason, there will always be a demand. 

  • Lois

    For tipping there’s a RI based company called ZipTip that is purpose-built for tipping for the broad service industry and not only it respects the tipper anonymity but also respects the employee and employer rated issues in collecting tips meant for service providers.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Notice that none of them are taking the privacy concerns seriously.  They either dismiss concerns, or they claim that it doesn’t matter.

    • Mike Card

      Just like Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), who keeps insisting privacy is “an old person’s issue.”

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         We “old people” need to rise up.

    • AC

      i understand you and Mr Card have a point, but if you realize that the avg parent can remotely monitor everything the child does/goes – even what they buy at school for lunch to how they’re driving you’ll see it is not so shocking.
      I think it’s just a matter of being watched, if you’re used to it from a very young age, your view of privacy is very different than what it has been traditionally…….

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        The truly disturbing part of this is that many people aren’t disturbed about it.

        • AC

          i had an older neighbor in my old apartment bldg that was an ex-hippy & very liberal. She once told me ‘privacy is a middle-class concept’….i can’t remember the context of the convo, but the thouht popped right up just now. Do you think that is a fair statement? maybe parallels the vanishing middle-class problem…? it’s now on my mind….

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             In days gone by, no one had privacy.  Most people lived in one-room houses, and the wealthy had servants swarming about.  Privacy is an invention, but just like medical science, it’s a good one.  After all, the ability to make your own choices depends in part on being able to shut out the rest of the world.

          • AC

            lol; i was just thinking about a downside & thought of 1: serial killers!!  - i wonder if there is a correlation between the rise of ‘privacy’ to the rise of ‘violent/gory crimes’.
            it seems to me that everytime there is a tale of people getting chopped up by axes & what not, it takes place in private, remote areas…. 

  • Mike Card

    They keep saying “convenience,” but the only thing that’s more convenient is THEIR ability to get THEIR hands on YOUR money, while offloading more of the work onto YOU.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      It’s like those old credit card commercials where consumers are merrily moving along assembly line style until someone says they want to pay by cash or check.

  • Tina

    By doing this, the corporations are EVEN TRYING TO CONVERT CASH INTO A MARKET!!!!!

  • Anthony

    What about people who don’t have access to cellular service, such as those with poor credit ratings, or those of us who live in locations with poor reception?

    • AC

      hmmm. good point!
      tho you can use your debit card, i think…

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Caller Gary–why are you in such a hurry?  Slow down and notice real life.

  • Ross

    what about if we are all mobile and online… no cash… and a computer system goes down for a week?  how do you conduct business or go to the store?

    • jefe68

      Such as a blackout or a major storm. 
      Nothing will work just when you need them.

  • Stephanie

    I teach technology to young students.  As with many things, how children learn about money, spending and saving will change.  Students who are 8, 9 or 10 years old are already attached to cell phones and technology.  The idea of mobile paying will come naturally to them, as many technology concepts have and do.  Mobile technology does not mean that we can’t teach our children about saving and money- it just means that we will teach them a different lesson.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Well said Stephanie.

      It’s amazing that so many people in this comment thread have 0 experience with this yet know so much about it.

  • http://jdvanlaningham.blogspot.com/ @Jdvanlaningham

    Kids will get just as jazzed watching “numbers” on a digital display grow as they do counting their pennies. Video games are essentially watching your score climb.

  • Casey

    Cash is the abstract concept, not mobile. If I have 100$ cash, that in no way is represents how much money in relationship to  all the accounts that everyone has these days. On the other hand, if I’m looking at on my phone seeing an accurate picture of my assets, I actually have a much more accurate and real understanding of currency. 

    • jefe68

      Cash is an abstract concept? If I’m looking at $100 I know it’s $100. Money is not abstract. You seem to be mixing up the idea of balancing ones accounts with having a $100 in your pocket. 

      It’s pretty simple, you have $100. After you spend it you don’t.

  • Maschulken

    What about a “cookie” type of function?
    Will one store know where else you have been?

  • Ghrr

    This is a joke – I went to get a car inspection last week and it couldn’t be done because “the computers in Albany were down”.
    A simple car inspection !!!!
    What happens when you need baby formula, diapers, tooth ache medicine.
    AND – I’ve heard it all before:
    1. Don’t worry we use security
    2. Don’t worry we have a privacy policy
    3. Don’t worry the internet is everywhere and always up

    • Mike Card

      And one of my [eye-roll] favorites:  No problem, we have a secure server.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      and here you are using it to write this comment…

  • Screamingpalms

    People are so quick to take on behaviors that they don’t fully understand, and it is done in the name of convenience. The implications for EVERYONE adopting this behavior is terrible. The “consumer” the “consumer” the consumer….blah, blah, blah….it was such a great experience getting a notification on my phone when I bought something that was expensive…wow, life is exciting.buying stuff. We value stuff but can’t value life. We value convenience but don’t value life experiences. This is the future for the sheep.

  • Dayan

    In Kenya they have been using mobile phone payment and money transfer called M-Pesa for years now that everywhere you go thats the preferred form of payment and its not based on smart phones only even regular non smart phones have the same capabilities.
    My question is why are we not using that model that is so successful here in the US.

  • Agpresston

    The problem with this type of payment is that it makes access t money not only the user, but for thieves.  ID theft is much larger than people think.  The use of a picture of the person in a store is not sufficient.  Ask the police how easy or not it is to ID somebody.  I can see that it might be very difficult for somebody to really distinguish between 2 people of the same race or ethnic identity.  Do you really think an under paid clerk is really going to check the picture carefully?

  • Agpresston

    There are inherrent dangers with the use of this technology for purchases that need to be address BEFORE people adapt it.  Security on smart phones is lousy.  anybody can write an app that takes any information from your phone including, but not
    limited to, your entire address book or the notes from your notepad (Apple). We don’t even have decent privacy regulations.  Europe may be ahead of us in the use of this technology but it is also way ahead of the US in privacy laws.  At least on the internet we can use encryption during a transaction as well as not using an unsecure WI-FI connection.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Simple: Turn on passcode lock and find my iPhone and you’re set.

  • Agpresston

    Despite all the benefits that people claim, there are many disadvantages with this technology as well.  I’ve mentioned ease of use by an unauthoried person and lack of privacy there are many other CONS that have been mention by many.

    - It causes people to OVERSPEND.  It is a known fact that CC users buy more at the time of purchase.

    - Does not teach kids the VALUE of MONEY.

    - You might be in trouble with if you’ve lost or broken your phone.

    - Disincentivises people, especially kids, to learn how to count the money and give correct change.  We have this problem already and this technology will make it worse.

    - With push technology there is the danger of DISCRIMINATION.  with all the info available different classes of people could get different offers and discounts.  (e.g. If a person bought a used care before they may ONLY be offered deals on used cars and not even offered a discount on a new car.)  What if the info on the net is incorrect?  Classes of people might not even be aware of such deals even if they wanted one.

    As a society we are not ready or equipped to deal with such a technology from  the security ,privacy or money management perspectives

    • AC

      you can do what i do – I have a specific ‘allowance’ account that only gets a very small % of my pay, when it’s gone, it’s gone. plus, if anyone tries to steal the acct/info, it’s not a big loss to me…
      altho, because of gas $$, i’ve been grumbling i need to increase the %.
      you don’t need to use 1 bank for everything!!! shop around; i have reg. bank & credit union accts.

  • Agpresston

    How much convience do I really need and who is being convienced, the user?  The Merchats (they sell more)?, The Banks (need I say fees!)?  Not only do people get your business they get your information (which is more, WAY MORE, valuable to them)!  We are closer to George Orwell’s “1984″ then we know.   People are already being manipulated “Buy this” etc.!  At least with the TV you can turn it off.

  • Meg

    What about privacy and security?  In the novel Handmaid’s Tale, the first sign that women had lost all independence and freedom was the freezing of their bank accounts.  Women could no longer earn or spend money.  Could a tyrannical government control us this way?

  • Amanda

    What part of the country is being looked at as far as the future of this payment method is concerned?  There are a number of vendors who aren’t even using credit cards due to their fees in the rest of the country.  Also, without cash and a total dependence on digital money the country would be shut down easily with something as simple as a natural disaster.  Nature still happens despite how “advanced” we seem to get.  A good portion of the US recently was without power, cell tower go down those individuals would not have any money.  The country would have to reinvent itself all over with a simple barter system.
    And I don’t have, nor want to own a Smart phone.  The cost to me would be more than just having cash.

  • Aaron Dome

    I’m so sick of stories about smartphones, Facebook, etc.  This is just lazy. No story? Just pic a topic and put “how is the digital age affecting” in front of it? Let’s have a month-long reprieve on “digital age” stories.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      you say as you use a digital age device to comment on a digital age comment thread.

      • jefe68

        Oh please.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      The technological age cannot be escaped! Get ready for the next industrial revolution. End your denial. Pretending all will be the same is a dream. The techno-social revolution is the age you live in. The is the beginning of the new age. You are living through its birth! It should be an once-a-week OnPoint regular installment!

  • Patty McMillen

    I agree it’s problematic that a vendor only knows you’re walking out with a purchase charged to a (stolen) credit card if you stop at the checkout desk.  Also find it weird when I walk out with my own credit card purchase, for which I’ve asked for an emailed receipt. (I don’t take store bags – carry my own.) Who’s to say I’m not shoplifting?

  • Jbir

    Wasn’t this being used by the average Kenyan after the election disputes and ensuing violence in 2006?

  • LHamblet

    There is the real issue of the decline in cash usage (a recent poll showed that 43% of americans don’t carry cash in a typical week) and its effect on service providers, who heavily rely on cash tips.  Ziptip’s solution enables anyone to get tipped instantly and directly to their PayPal accounts, just by using business cards (or displaying their image or email address).  Not only does it solve the problem of lack of cash (think of hotel rooms where housekeeping staff aren’t tipped for lack of cash) but also now artists, musicians, yoga teachers, gurus, cafe workers and others can be discreetly tipped.  In order to get a tip, the service provider doesn’t need to have or use a phone while the tipper uses Ziptip’s free app for iPhones or Android phones.  It’s a simple solution to a real problem.  

    • mac

      I just finished reading the book End Of Money. I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the eMoney.
      1. Isn’t the government constitutionally bound to be in charge of money?
      2. It could be a technique to ‘level the playing field’. Each newborn gets some eMoney from the government and at various milestones.
      3.  I understand it is very expensive to keep paper/metal money circulating as opposed to electronic money. It wastes natural resources, too.
      4. Teach the electronic money management discipline to students. They already do a lot online. Why not do a daily balance sheet.
      5. If the merchants get too obnoxious with their pleas to visit then people will avoid them so that should work itself out.
      6. What to do if electronics fail? IOU’s according to the End of Money book.

    • Bigleyjoshua

      why the hell would anyone want to get paid or tipped on paypal–thats not real money you can use in the real world-under this system you have to spend your money online–shopping–shopping for gadgets and nonsense.  So we are coerced into being consumers.  I dont like that–I dont feel free to use m money as i wish.  Have you ever tried cashing out of paypal–its an enormously lengthy labryinthine gauntlet of ropes designed to torture you and make you give up–its a bit like being in CHina–everything is designed to make you feel souless and crushed so you give up trying.  Mountainous cities of paperwork that will require 365 days to fill out and thrice that to process–so you can cash out.

      I wish the internet age would crash and would get on with our lives again.  The internet used to be this thing called human interaction–to connect I had to communicate physically, emotionally, and spiritually–now I ‘m just ones and zeros in Discuss.  Like talking to the wall.

      End the age of oil.  End the age of virtual reality.  End the age of suburban highway sprawl–the paved planet.  Lets start building human communities again.

      To hell with paypal and electronic commerce. To hell with the internet.  And for Christ’s sake–cancel your Facebook account.   

  • r_ey

    With an almost flattened economy one question needs to be, how much convenience do we REALLY need?  Mostly, this sort of thing is convenient for the banks and for the tech companies and tech retailers because it is lucrative to them. But what about the people who will ultimately lose their jobs as a result of these innovations?  It begins to look, more and more, like the only people who can make $$ or get jobs in this country are bankers and techies.  That’s a pretty boring world.  Let’s begin to look a little deeper than our own convenience and doing things just because we can.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    The thing to keep in mind with these technologies is that all of them require either an Android or an Apple Smart Phone which is less than 50% of the phone user population in the US.  Smart Phone penetration is at about 50% but not everyone has an Apple or an Android because many people still have their Blackberries.

    I have a Windows Mobile phone and none of these Apps are ever built for my phone.  You will need to come to me where I am if you want me to adopt your technology.  I am not buying an overpriced/sub-par iPhone or a virus-ridden/hacker fodder Android.  My phone is perfect.  I’m not movin!  The first technology that builds something I can use on my phone will probably get my business.  I won’t be holding my breath.

    I don’t see how digging my phone out of my purse is more convenient than digging my credit card out of my purse/wallet.  I agree with the caller that suggested a wireless solution would make more sense.  I have a credit card that you can wave it rather than swipe it.  I never use it because it won’t put the transaction through as a Debit, only Credit.

    So in conclusion… Meet me where I am.  Give me what I want.  Consolidate standards so the technology is ubiquitous and we might be somewhere.

    Speaking of Mobile Technologies… it’d be so nice if we could leave comments from our mobile phones here.

  • Cmb

    Try buying penny candy with a smart phone.  The transaction fee would mean that the seller gets nothing.

  • Dustin Crump

    They can’t roll out mobile payments fast enough. it’s more secure and reliable than 1970′s plastic, and no less private in a world where every store tracks you for BI anyway with whatever data they can legally mine.

    • Meredith

      Not every store tracks your purchases; we must keep small businesses in mind.  Although this is only my opinion and is heavily influenced by my location, Bellingham WA, where many businesses are cash only.

  • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike

    Bitcoins is the way to go. No banks, no governments

  • JJ

    I was readying my passport to go through the TSA at Charlotte the other day, when to my surprise another passenger simply swiped his Iphone and went through… Was wild!

  • Kooper113

    Word of warning: Google will keep track of all your transactions and make a profile of you to sell you stuff! This will be the trend, tracking what you buy to advertise to you. Your information is not safe, be careful what you buy!

    • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike

      That was the issue when Gmail first came out, they (probably not manually read your email messages, but read just the same) read all your emails, then target your online session with advertisements based on your e-mail messages. I mean have we all forgotten this?

  • Sanserif

    and what happens to the economy when the servers go down? We can barely function for a minute without electricity…what about in a black out? I think we should all be hording cash,. did you all not read The Handmaid’s Tale? A cashless society leaves us all vulnerable.

    • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike

      The Internet was built because of the threat of nuclear war, and to withstand a nuclear war, the idea is it’s almost impossible to bring down the entire world’s server network. But then again, it could probably happen.

    • Meredith

      So glad to see the Handmaid’s Tale mentioned, it was the first thing I thought of when I heard about this technology.  I wonder whose accounts would be “accidentally” shut off first? 

  • Astronerd

     Of course, these apps will make it easy for the drug dealers to transfer their ill-gotten gains to Mexico.

    • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike

      Why not say thieves in London, New York, and other banking centers, haven’t you been reading the PAPERS? Libor, AIG, GOLDMAN, CHASE milking billions from the people man.

  • Bigleyjoshua

    the term mobile payment is a deception–you have mobile payment with cash–you are mobile on your feet.  Once again we are being psyched and manipulated for banks

    this technology will only further facilitate monopolies, box stores, a monolithic top town economy–small merchants will not be able to compete–paying fees–everything will have to be in bulk–walmart will flourish and main street will finally turn over and die–forgotten in the undergloom. 

    Soon Walmart will be so powerful–you government will be called walmart.  The smiley face will be on all military uniforms, and the national ensign. Amazon and walmart will handle everything from health care, to marriage, to judicial government and lawmaking, police forces and zoning laws–you are now an american associate.
      Stop the madness!
    If a sandwich maker cant afford an employee to handle the cash he cant afford the bank fees for the mobile phone. 

    Down with the banks!  Down with the bankers!  Down with the 1%.  You all being deceived, manipulated, and coerced.

    Its time for American communities to organize counter governments and declare independence–the laws of the fascist nation of bankers is null and void. create your economy and secede

  • Bigleyjoshua

    this master-card banker is a donkey hole!  Please–this excuse that banks use for fees is cowchips–he says, they say, its expensive for banks to maintain atms–you mean they cant spare the trillion dollar profits they swindled from the american public, the world–but, hmmm, they all have billion dollar homes, yachts the size of aircraft carriers, and use citizen money to finance otherworld vacations that put the queens ball to shame.  And they continue to rob us and lie to us and cheat us and conquer us–you mean they cant afford –in that vast empire of mechanical wage slaves, and dirty felony-money–to spare a dime to maintain the ATM paperwork and components?–sorry, thats not true. 

    Take your money out of the bank–why do you give them your money to invest and line their pockets?  Buy a safe and sock it away.  Find a small local bank or credit union. 

    Withdraw your money form the banks! 

  • Bigleyjoshua

    face recognition, retina scans–on line–wow–if that isn’t another nail in the coffin of independence and the pursuit of happiness–security state galvanized!

  • Bigleyjoshua

    all protesters and democracy supporters will be exiled from buying and selling, tracked down and hogtied.  Question the walmart government and you will be monitored, tracked, seized, and water-boarded–room 101!

  • Peter

    There are still a lot of places that only accept cash.  There is a much larger underground cash society then most people think.

  • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike

    Seriously, it’s just some basic math in the head. I already do it now. I have $100 dollars in the bank. I by a coffee, some socks, and some gum. I use my phone to do it. Now I look at my bank account balance on my phone after purchasing everything and it’ll still say $100, with $7 PENDING…for like 8 days, that’s what I hate. This is a fictional account, but I think that’s the criminality of these type of electronic transactions. They take forever to subtract the amount from you balance, hoping you overdraw. I’m sure they’ll take forever do it for iPhone electronic transactions.

  • Bigleyjoshua

    instead of mobile phones–compromise–some (below) say coins and paper wastes resources and the borg demands convenience and technology–Prometheus Unbound–well, why not recycle plastics in the pacific gyre into colored lucid chips–tokens–like poker chips and bingo chips (it will give new meaning to the word Bingo!)–illuminated under scanners, coded within with security measures, value, born on date–recycled money with the fun of technology, and i can still carry cash.  the material cold be virtually anything–turn our trash into money.  The value –1-10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000, etc.–the number and serial number, etc, is incandescent and luminous, solar powered–fades in the dark, illuminates under light or infrared or black light scanners–whatever tech they use in shops.

  • ConnedSumer

    Visa and Mastercard, maybe you can shift some of those anti-trust swipe fee losses you just incurred to the consumer by making us buy data plan subscriptions and apps and taking a portion of that and cut the retailer out.  Am I the only person in the world who refuses to buy cable, a mobile data plan (except by the day when I need it), a gym subscription (except multi-visit passes)?  Am I the only person who refuses to pay for  permission to pay (I don’t buy TurboTax either).

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Hey, if I win the lottery can I dump a pile of zeros and ones and roll around it them ? :) :)  01:)

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      So sorry, I must have IT on my mind .

  • Peter Roof

    The best is an app that is universal for both merchant and shopper. Simpler is better. Don’t need several incompatible formats accepted by a portion of merchants.  As a shopper I would want several layers of confirmation.  Merchants should embrace this as having less cash to manage but fees should be minimal.

  • Prashant

    What happens if the phone battery dies… Am I stranded

    • jefe68

      Yes, the phone wont work.

    • ThePlayChannel

       You can always pawn the phone. It should get you a pair of socks and a frappucino :)

  • Jmf3579

    Ironically enough, the day this program aired, I had left home in the morning without my wallet. As I was leaving work, I realized there was no commerce I could do on the way home, no gas or movies or groceries… the only place I could go was Starbucks, as I have $$ stored on my phone.

    I really do think this mobile money is the commerce of the future!

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      Stick a twenty in your socks.

  • Slipstream

    Boy, how exciting.  So you can basically store your bank card and credit card info on your phone now.  I suppose it has the advantage of not being a physical card that someone could steal or find and try to use.   I would only use it if it were a credit card (as opposed to a debit card), because there are sure to be some frauds coming along with this new technology.

  • nj_v2

    Tom seemed inordinately deferential to the Master Card dude. Asked repeatedly about what what’s in it for his company and what MC makes off of transactions, MC Dude hemmed and hawed, finally gave an answer about the current percentage, but didn’t say anything about how things would change with the new e-device payments.

    According to MC Dude, it’s all about making things more “convenient” for the customer. And giving them “options.” Right, MC is in business for convenience. Totally disingenuous.

  • mac

    this day and age why do we have to wait so long for our pay from employers?
    Where I used to work, we would have to put in 2 weeks of work then wait 1 week
    for our paycheck which was direct deposited into my bank account. I think the
    governments (state and federal) have to wait 3 months for their payroll taxes
    from the employers.  The employers could
    pay us (and government) the same day for a day’s work with electronic money.

  • Kalin Georgiev

    the person from Master Card, was very tricky (foxy) he slide away in a very diplomatic way 
    two times (evaded) the direct question of Tom regarding exact percentage
    of fees they charge. i guess the team which prepared this show did not
    do there home work in advance , those [ hard talk ] questions need to be
    asked in advance regarding the inside information of charged fees, and
    than the answers be reported as facts on the show , otherwise the show
    looses its meaning. The title of the show is very sexy and appealing,
    but unfortunately for us the listeners very little or almost zero actual
    useful information and data was revealed during the show. This time
    most of it was talk to get the time pass. Next time please do a better
    preparation and homework with your guests in order to avoid their
    trickiness during the actual show.  regards, Kalin                                   ( keep up the good work!)

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

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