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Pay-by-mobe app spells doom for impulse buyers

So many ways to instantly pay, so little money

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Simply Tap, the Dunstone-backed mobile payments system, is now live in the UK, allowing shoppers to buy a phone using their, er, phone in Carphone Warehouse stores.

Simply Tap was announced back in March and is now available for iOS and Android platforms. The service takes your credit card details and then uses them to pay for things when you enter the special code on the product label, though why that's easier than passing one's card to a shop assistant isn't clear – however it's a smartphone app so it must be cool.

Apparently you can use Simply Tap to "buy in seconds when you see something you like in-store", 'cos we all know how irritating it is having to interact with the shopkeeper in any way. You can also use it to buy stuff seen on posters or websites – by typing in the product code – so it's very like Amazon's mobile app in that way.

When it was unveiled, there was talk of using QR Codes, but those seem to have vanished and been replaced with alphanumeric strings one has to enter to identify the desired product. Once the product's code is tapped in, one just enters the three-digit security code from one's credit card and the goods are dispatched.

This is assuming those goods come from Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy Europe, Thorntons, Goldsmiths, thehut.com, Pretty Green or moreTvicar.com; if you're buying from their websites then for most of them you'll have to register with the site anyway, so there's no great advantage in using Simply Tap (and at a glance integration is still some way off).

So in person it's easier to hand over a card, while online one has to fill in forms either way, but it is possible to imagine seeing a Simply Tap code on a poster and deciding to make a purchase. In that instance it would probably be the quickest way to buy, so if you think that's something you're likely to do then the app is in the usual stores and comes with £10 cash back the first time it's used. See below for a video about the service. ®

Simply Tap & Buy from Simply Tap on Vimeo.

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