San Diego is consistently noted as one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. And it’s not just because of the mild weather, sandy beaches, and wide array of activities: Local businesses put a premium on maximizing convenience for residents and tourists, so that everyone can devote more time to enjoying all that the city has to offer.
A prime example of this was demonstrated in early 2012. A startup introduced a mobile-payment platform called ZapMe that gave merchants a new way to conduct transactions quickly and securely. San Diego was designated as one of the test cities for this new technology.
Within eight months, nearly 140 businesses — from sushi bars and delis to hookah lounges and wellness centers — had adopted the mobile-payment technology.
Mobile Payments Simplify Commerce
Here’s how it works: Customers can download the free app and scan their debit or credit card of choice. After that, they simply take their smartphone and place it on what’s known as a “tap-and-pay pad.” Within seconds, the transaction is completed: The purchase is recorded in the merchant’s system, and the customer’s account is charged.
These types of mobile payments are more secure than traditional credit card transactions. For instance, mobile-payment apps work with the GPS-enabled technology on smartphones, so that servers can make sure that the phone is at the same location as the transaction being processed (unlike a stolen credit card, which could be used anywhere).
One of the early adopters of this restaurant was The Works restaurant in the Mission Valley neighborhoods. Owner Bill Olsker gives the mobile-payment platform high marks: “It’s beneficial to me because it builds loyalty with my customers. I get a lot of repeat business.”
San Diego Hosts Mobile IT Execs
It’s not surprising that San Diego small businesses are knowledgeable about the latest trends in mobile-payment technology. After all, to get information on the latest happenings in this arena, all they had to do was look in their own backyard.
MobileCon, the mobile IT conference hosted by the wireless association CTIA, was held in San Diego in October. More than 5,000 information technology professionals from 43 countries convened in the city to hear about the latest developments in mobile technology. The majority of attendees were executives and decision-makers who could have a huge influence on the future of the industry.