Mobile payments

If it seems like you're seeing more mobile payment options around town, you're not imagining things. Mobile devices from Square and Intuit are more prevalent than ever.

A merchant accepting Square's mobile payments lets potential buyers know that at an antique fair in Alameda, Calif. James Martin/CNET

If it seems like you're seeing more mobile payment options around town, you're not imagining things. Mobile devices from Square and Intuit are more prevalent than ever -- popping up in farmers markets, small salons, taco trucks, and all manner of independent businesses.

And it isn't just small businesses that are offering their customers the mobile-payment option. Square recently brought its service into 7,000 Starbucks stores . Square said in November it is now processing $10 billion in payments each year .

But the field is still relatively new and unsettled. Google Wallet, which relies on near-field communication technology that only a small number of phones have, has struggled to get any meaningful adoption . Visa , Bank of America , PayPal , Groupon , and event a joint venture of three U.S. mobile carriers have all made attempts at getting a foothold in mobile payments.

Mobile payments won't go away in 2013, but with so many companies competing for attention, we're sure to see some level of consolidation in the field soon.

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About the author

Jennifer Guevin is managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages, and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitates toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots, and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.

 

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