ORLANDO, Fla. — Mobile payments are expected to boom as the holiday season kicks into high gear.
A survey by the National Retail Federation shows half of those who own smartphones will use them during holiday shopping. Another study shows one in three retailers has iPhone apps, while a smaller percentage use Android and iPad apps.
Intuit in 2009 launched GoPayments, which uses a device that plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone or iPad and is used to swipe credit cards as a form of mobile payment.
Many businesses have flocked to this product because of Intuit's experience and dedication to security through its other well-known products such as QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax.
Twitter creator Jack Dorsey debuted Square in 2009, and it uses a similar gizmo. Square's Card Case app enables customers also to store digital receipts and search nearby businesses using the software.
Both Square and GoPayments have worked out deals to charge merchants a flat fee for running MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover payments.
Square takes a 2.75 percent cut on every swipe, while Intuit charges merchants 2.7 percent. There are no monthly fees, and the devices are free.
But the technology isn't just for mobile businesses.
Apple this week updated its Apple Store app to allow iPhone users to purchase a MacBook Pro, iPad 2 or other select Apple products on their phones and pick them up at their local retailers.
Google Wallet, which launched in September, is a mobile-payment system that allows users to store credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and sales promotions on their smartphones. It is popular among brick-and-mortar establishments such as Guess, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, 7-Eleven, CVS and other businesses.
Users tap their smartphone equipped with the app on the PayPass reader of businesses offering the service. The smartphone then deducts the payment from the user's credit card.
The downside to Google Wallet is that it only works on Sprint's Samsung Nexus S 4G, and users must have a Citi MasterCard or a virtual Google Prepaid Card.
Still, some say using their smartphones to purchase goods is easier than fishing in their pockets for their wallets.
"This is an awesome alternative for buying stuff you want without having to worry about having enough cash on you or pulling out your debit card," said Jeremy Frank, a University of Central Florida student who downloaded the Card Case app last week. "It's also a cool way to impress your less tech-savvy friends."