Pay Fast--With No Cash

Simple new devices let customers buy without waiting in line

Curtis Mason doesn't like to carry cash, which used to be a problem on the days when he didn't have time to pack himself a lunch before heading off to work at Sears Credit in Boise, Idaho. But now Mason, 23, an account manager, simply waves a wand at a vending machine, and out comes a hoagie or his favorite indulgence--a Big Ed's ice-cream sandwich.

The wand's not magic. It's just a plastic doodad smaller than a lipstick, embedded with a tiny electronic chip that is scanned by a reader in the vending machine. The reader taps Mason's credit account over...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!