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Students will have to wait for mobile payments to hit UMBC

No sign of adoption anytime soon

The mobile payments landscape is not looking good at UMBC as services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet continue to grow in adoption rate.

Forget the bulky wallet and stack of credit cards. Mobile payment technology now makes it easier for users to pay for items with a simple scan of their smartphone.

The partnership between UMBC and PNC Bank provides students with an opportunity to manage their money while on campus.

The ATMs located on campus, the nearby PNC branches and the virtual wallet option ensures students have sufficient resources to easily control their bank accounts.

PNC has embraced Near Field Communication technology, which enables data from a smartphone to be transferred when in close proximity of a platform.

Near Field Communication–enabled smartphones can use platforms like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, allowing users to pay for their purchases simply by hovering their smartphone above a payWave terminal.

Many questions still surround the security of mobile payments and its vulnerabilities to possible hackers. Apple Pay requires identification from the user by requiring a fingerprint or password before completing each transaction.

Apple Pay, which officially released in October 2014, vows to end the days of searching for your wallet and the moments spent finding your card. Anywhere Apple Pay is accepted, both Google Wallet and Softcard are accepted as well.

With PNC now offering NFC payments at select locations, many students may be curiously waiting for this technology to reach the UMBC campus. Paying for lunch at Chick-fil-A or buying a refreshment at Starbucks would become an even quicker task, requiring students to simply scan their iPhone or other smartphone.

Unfortunately, providing students with this convenience would come at a high cost for the university. Near Field Communication technology requires a special platform to receive the information to allow the data to be transferred from a device.

For students to use Apple Pay through PNC bank accounts, an installation of payWave terminals would be required at locations around the UMBC campus.

Another problem with the implementation of mobile payments around campus is the compatibility of devices that accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Cliff Coleman, computer sales manager from the UMBC bookstore, said, “The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3 and the Apple Watch are the only devices currently with the Apple Pay technology.”

Google Wallet is blocked on Verizon and is not integrated with as many banks as Apple Pay.

This poses a problem for students using smartphones from providers other than Apple and running older operating systems unsupported by Apple Pay.

Mobile payments are slowly taking off, providing a quicker and more convenient transaction process for customers. Students will have to continue to wait until they are adopted at campus locations.