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CNET News Video: No cash? Festivalgoers can pay with their phones

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CNET News Video: No cash? Festivalgoers can pay with their phones

2:40 /

Keys, wallet and cell phone. Most people don't leave home without them. But what if you could ditch your wallet? PayPal, Google, and other tech companies are working to turn your smartphone into a mobile wallet, where you can pay with just a tap or swipe. CNET's Kara Tsuboi headed out to San Francisco's Outside Lands music festival to see if mobile wallets were really more convenient.

[MUSIC] With around 100 bands playing on multiple stages at San Francisco's 3-day Outside Land music festival, you don't want to miss a beat. But at some point, you do need to eat. Some festival goers skipped the ATM lines and never worried about digging out cash or losing their wallets. Instead, they used their smartphones to pay. You didn't bring any cash with you? No. I never carry cash. There have been times where, you know, I've forgotten my wallet and I. So I have my phone and I don't have any cash with me. I'm still able to get what I want to get without any hassle. Payments with PayPal has been testing it's mobile payment app at music festivals. We are using this as an opportunity to experiment, because there is so much need for technology to make people's festive going easier. You're here to see the music, you're not here to deal with the hassle. Once you download a PayPal app and link a credit card and picture, you choose a nearby participating merchant and check in. Confirm the order with a cashier, and get an emailed receipt. Your financial information is never shared, so there's nothing that, that can be hacked that goes over, goes over the airwaves. It's your username and that's it. 15% of the concession stands accepted PayPal. Some even offering coupons. As a vendor, you know, we do most of our transactions in cash especially at a festival so it is a a nice convenience for me, I don't really have to carry thousands and thousands of dollars in loose change around because there's no real safe place to put that at the festival. But widespread adoption of mobile wallets is still a ways away, Nate Pollock who owns the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen says they'll sell up to 7,000 sandwiches at the festival though only about 2% of the sales will be through PayPal. Paypal is a nice convenience for those that wanna preserve the greens, not at an ATM for a few minutes, but I think it's mostly gonna be cash here. Despite mobile providers brining in additional cell towers, connectivity can be inconsistent. It's obviously one of the biggest problems when you have a congregation of so many people in one vicinity. We do the best that we can to mitigate that problem. Unfortunately, we can't make the entire festival pass us right now due to connectivity. Other tech companies are banking on mobile wallets. Google Wallet has expanded to hundreds of thousands of stores nationwide. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are backing a wallet service. Amazon's wallet is pre-installed in its new Fire Phone, and Apple is rumored to be developing a mobile wallet. While cash is still an option and you can pay with your phone. Festival organizers are hoping that soon you can just pay with a wristband. Truly freeing up your hands to enjoy the music. In San Francisco I'm Kara Tsuboi. CNET.com for CBS News.

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