Mobile Wallets Hit the Festival Circuit

By CBS News

Published 08/27 2014 06:46AM

Updated 08/27 2014 06:49AM

Most people don't leave home without their keys, wallet and cell phone. But what if you could ditch your wallet?  Paypal, Google, Amazon and other tech companies are working to turn your smartphone into a mobile wallet, where you can pay with just a tap or swipe. Are mobile wallets were really more convenient?.

With around 100 bands playing on multiple stages at San Francisco's 3-day Outside Lands 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.

Reporter:  "You didn't bring any cash with you?"   "No, I never carry cash," says Vladi Iotov, a PayPal user from Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

Payment service PayPal has been testing its mobile payment app at music festivals.
"There is so much need for technology to make peoples' festival-going experience easier," explains Anuj Nayar, senior director of global initiatives for PayPal..

Once you download the Paypal app and link a credit card and picture, you choose a nearby participating merchant and check in.
"Your financial information is never shared. There's nothing that can be hacked that goes over the airwaves," Nayar says.

But widespread adoption of mobile wallets is still a ways away. Nate Pollack who owns the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen says they'll sell up to 7,000 sandwiches at the festival, but only about two-percent of the sales will be through PayPal.  "Paypal is a nice convenience for those who want to preserve the greens and not have to stop at an ATM every few minutes, but I think it's mostly going to be cash here."

"Unfortunately, we can't make the entire festival cashless right now due to connectivity," says Bryan Duquette, festival organizer.  "That's obviously one of the biggest problems when you have a congregation of so many people."

While cash is still available, and you can pay with your phone, festival organizers are hoping that soon, you can just pay with a wristband.

Google, Amazon and mobile carriers like Verizon and AT&T already offer mobile wallet services. Apple is rumored to be developing a mobile wallet that may be incorporated in the iPhone 6.

(Kara Tsuboi, for CBS News)

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