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Shopping With Credit-Card Readers Attached to Smartphones

If my friend Beth's recent holiday buying is any indication, shoppers are in for a more-connected experience. Last week, my 82-year-old buddy wanted to buy a platter at her church bazaar. She was met with a "newfangled credit-card" gadget.

"The salesgirl told me to slide my credit card through a little square thing attached to her phone," Beth told me.  "She said it was safe, I did it, I hope it was ok."

That small device called Square is a credit-card reader that works just like the in-store swipe machines.  Square has the same security protections as the traditional models.

But instead of using a pen to sign your name, you use your finger.  No paper receipts either-those are e-mailed to you.

mobile point of sale gadgets

Mobile payment readers are popping up everywhere this holiday season.  You'll see them in malls and big-box stores.

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You'll even see them attached to sales clerks' tablets in department stores like Kohl's.  Shoppers will be able to scan their Kohl's loyalty cards to earn points like they can at Starbucks.

More in-store mobile reward signups

You'll undoubtedly be met with requests asking you to activate the store's online rewards program on your smartphone.

  • Retailers are encouraging shoppers to load their loyalty rewards cards onto their phones.  This way they can send you text messages about sales happening in the store while you are shopping.
  • Some stores will award loyalty reward points in real time and alert you when you have enough to redeem them on promotional items as you shop.


Holiday shopping is sure to be a lot more mobile and personal this year.  There are plenty of apps for coupons and daily deals.

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If you prefer avoiding mall crowds and shopping from your desktop you'll be in good company.  Emarketer reports that more than 70 percent of Boomers and older adults regularly shop online.

Recently, Amazon started a  site called the 50+ Active Healthy and Living Store for digital users.  So at home or in a physical store, you'll likely be part of the connected holiday shopping season.


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