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The rising popularity of iPad as cash register

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Over at Wired, writer Marcus Wohlson points out that the novelty of using an iPad or other mobile device as a cash register is beginning to disappear as that particular use case turns mainstream.

The act of handing your credit card to an iPad-toting store clerk or coffee shop barista was unthinkable a few years ago and increasingly the norm in 2013. Wohlson brings up a recent study by UK industry firm Timetric that notes that between 2011 and 2012, the number of mobile point-of-sale systems used worldwide more than doubled.

While Timetric's researchers don't believe that the rate of uptake will be as high in the future, it is expected that the percentage of checkout counters using such system will increase from about one in five last year to almost half by 2017. Wohlson posits that the popularity of some systems may put a damper on the use of near field communication (NFC) for payment systems in the future since the omnipresent iPad-mounted card reader makes continued use of traditional credit and debit cards more likely.

The ability to use smartphones for multiple purposes and their ubiquity in pockets and purses around the world might some day make a cashless, cardless society a reality, but for the foreseeable future the plastic card being swiped at an iPad cash register seems much more realistic.

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