Category: Travel Tech

Credit Cards vs. Mobile Payments: Which Is Best?

Credit Cards vs. Mobile Payments: Which Is Best?

Back on October 24, 2014, not long after Apple showcased its two new iPhones, the “6” and “6 Plus,” I took a fairly detailed look at “Apple Pay,” the mobile payments system that owners of those new phones (but not those with older models) could use with merchants’ “point-of-sale” terminals instead of swiping a traditional credit card.

(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)
(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)

One of my hiking buddies bought an iPhone 6 and has raved about the convenience of Apple Pay.

I’m still using an iPhone 5 (although a “6” may be in my pocket before long), so I haven’t had a chance to try out Apple Pay myself. (I do have the ability using Apple’s Passport app to pay for my coffee drinks at Starbucks stores by waving my iPhone at a scanner.)

But will Apple Pay be of any real value to U.S. consumers once they all are given “Chip and PIN” credit cards?

Is Apple Pay really more convenient to use and a more secure payment system than a credit card?

How many merchants will ultimately have Apple Pay compatible point-of-sale terminals?

Won’t I still need to carry my credit cards in my wallet just in case the merchant’s terminal doesn’t work, the merchant doesn’t have such a terminal, or my iPhone’s battery goes dead or my phone gets mislaid, left at home, or stolen?

Listen to reporters Robin Sidel, of The Wall Street Journal, and Nanette Byrnes, of MIT Technology Review, talk with host Ira Flatow of PRI’s Science Friday about these and other questions about credit cards vs. mobile payments.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/188701607″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

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Get Landline Messages on Your Smartphone

Get Landline Messages on Your Smartphone

While it’s not uncommon for people to only have a cellphone rather than a “landline” telephone today, there’s still many (like me) who find that those “old-school” telephone devices can be more reliable (especially during a power outage) and have better call quality than even the smartest of smartphones.

( Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo)
( Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo)

But there’s one problem everyone who has both a smartphone and a landline phone must deal with: When away from my home or office, especially for an extended period of time while traveling, how can one best learn whether calls have been made to the landline and, more importantly, if any of the callers left a voicemail message?

The answer, of course, is “There’s an app for that!”

Actually, there are at least two apps to help you track your landline calls and voicemail messages.

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Using An iPad as an iPhone “Extension Telephone”

Using An iPad as an iPhone “Extension Telephone”

If you’ve got multiple landline phones in your home, office, or hotel room, one is likely to be close at hand whenever a call comes in.

But if you are out of earshot when your iPhone rings, you’ll miss the call. And as far as I can tell, there is no way to set up the iPhone so it continually gives you a sound or visual alert for a missed call.

However, if you have one of the following models of iPhone (or iPod) and iPad, the iPad can serve as an “extension phone” which will let you make and answer calls when your iPhone isn’t handy:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPhone 4s (sharing iPhone calls only)
  • iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3

The mobile devices must both be running Apple’s iOS 8 (or later).

Here’s how it works.

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