VendingmachineVending machines can accept payments from cell phones, so why not McDonald’s? Back in September, Coca-Cola announced that it was going to equip all of their vending machines in Japan with the technology that would allow the machines to accept payment via mobile phones. They hope to have this done by the end of 2008.

With that, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before cellphones became the newest way to make payments. It makes sense for a couple of reasons, but first because so many people have their mobile phones glued to their side! Secondly, it’s a way for companies like Coca-Cola to save money because they don’t have to worry about collecting coins from machines if they’re getting electronic payments.

According to BBC, this technology is being expanded in Japan to the McDonald’s Fast Food Chain. Together with NTT DoCoMo (a leading mobile phone operator), McDonald’s will offer customers the option to make a payment via their mobile phone. This also provides McDonalds with important information about their customers and their eating habits which they could use for marketing purposes.

This could definitely turn into a replacement for cash, much like the credit card.  It means one less thing you’ll have to carry around, and one less thing to worry about. As mentioned, using a mobile phone to make payments isn’t something new to Japan, but it has yet to reach the U.S. The U.S. mobile market is typically behind other countries anyways, but I think it’s definitely something that could take off here in the U.S. where you can find a McDonalds at nearly every corner.

Sources: Far East Gizmos, BBC