Mobile Phone Payments



wallet stuff (2) overstuffed
purse humble fancy/fancier/fanciest
fun QR code revolution (2)
pull pull out funny looks
rare code (2) pay/paid/paid
weird skip (2) cash is king
bun utility (3) utility bill
rent dominate the last time
steam jump (2) platform (2)
funny cashless leap frog (2)
tip (3) transfer side-street
expect sense (2) ubiquitous
shack homeless comfortable (2)
via surpass legacy (2)
rule (2) catch up adoption (2)
survey dream (3) carry on them
guy achieve








The days of overstuffed wallets in your back pocket or purse may soon come to an end. By 2020, mobile wallets on our smartphones are expected to surpass the use of credit and debit cards in the US.

That has already happened in China.

Ben Tracy is in Beijing to show us what a nearly cashless society actually looks like. Ben good morning.

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Good morning. When I moved here to China a couple months ago, I kept getting funny looks every time I pull cash out of my wallet to pay for things.

And then I got one of these: it’s a code on my phone. And basically I can buy anything here in China.

Journalist: “When you pay for something, how do you pay for it?”
Woman One: “Mobile phone.”

On the streets of Beijing, cash is definitely NOT king.

Journalist: “What do you think of people who pay cash for things?”
Man One: “That’s rare and weird. Maybe elderly and people who don’t know how to use a mobile phone use cash.”

This woman says, “I rarely take my wallet when I go out; just my phone.”

That’s because those phones can buy just about anything, from clothes in the store to steamed buns on the street. They are used to pay for bike rides and bus rides, rent and utility bills.

Journalist: “When was the last time you used cash? A month ago? Wow. That’s a long time.”
WeChat and Alipay dominate China’s mobile market. And payments on their platforms totaled more than $5.5 trillion last year, a two hundred percent (200%) jump for the year before, and more than fifty times the value of mobile payments in the US.

One of the reasons mobile payments have caught on so quickly here in China is because of what most people here don’t have in their wallets: credit cards. They basically went from a cash-based society to a cashless one — and skipped the step in between.

Andy Mok, Economist: “China has leap frogged the US in becoming a cashless society.”

Andy Mok is an economist in Beijing. He says China’s cashless revolution has happened in three years, largely thanks to these things called QR codes. You simply scan them with your phone to pay.

Nearly every business and person has one, from the farmers’ market to the musician on the street — playing for a mobile tip.

Journalist: “You can give a homeless person money from your phone. You never see that in the US.”
Andy Mok: “All you have to do is scan that code to transfer money. And you really is ubiquitous in China, from the largest cities, the fanciest hotels to the most humble street-side shacks, will all us QR codes.”

The Chinese are comfortable doing everything on their phones, while in the US credit cards and online shopping via their computers still rule.

Andy Mok, Economist: “These kinds of legacy technologies make adoption of any newer generation of technologies slower. So in this sense, the US has a little bit of catching up to do.”

A recent survey found that forty percent (40%) of Chinese people carried less than fifteen dollars on them, but they would never dream of leaving home with out this.

As one guy on the street told me, “You can’t achieve anything without your phone.”


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1. Mobile payment is only happening in China. True or false? What is the trend?

2. Is it normal for people to pay with cash in contemporary China? Do locals think they are ordinary?

3. Are smartphone payments only accepted by grocery stores for large purchases?

4. Do the Chinese use a mixture of payment methods: cash, credit cards and smartphones? Has there been a dramatic shift in payment methods?

5. What do the journalist and economist say about credit cards?

6. What three features enable people to make mobile transactions?

7. Do the Chinese have any reservations about using smartphone payments, or have they embraced it?


A. Are mobile or smartphone payments common in your city? Is there a trend?

B. What do you and your friends think about mobile transactions?

C. What will happen in the future?

D. Are there any downsides or disadvantages of mobile payments?

E. Should citizens be concerned? What should governments and people do?


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