By JENNIFER A. KINGSON
When Michelle Dub, a golf instructor in Rancho Santa Margarita,
Calif., finishes a lesson, she whips out her BlackBerry wireless
device -- to schedule the next appointment, sure, but also to swipe
the student's credit card for payment right there on the driving
It takes only a few seconds, and it saves Ms. Dub a trip to the bank
to deposit a check or a fistful of cash. Plus, her clients like it.
"They're just surprised -- they're like, 'Wow, you're a
techno-wizard,' " she said.
The novelty may soon wear off. Plumbers, limousine drivers, flea
market proprietors and merchants of all sizes and stripes are
beginning to take credit and debit cards in odd places, often using
nothing more than an ordinary cellphone and a card swipe attachment,
or a handheld device with a built-in swipe slot. Now that wireless
networks span the nation and devices that tap into them are cheap and
reliable, expectations for the technology are running high outside
Already in some restaurants a waiter will swipe a credit card
tableside (a practice that is widespread in Europe), and some car
rental companies use hand-held devices to check people out when they
return cars. A day could soon come when a clerk at a large department
store will ask customers in the aisle if they would like to check out
there, or a shopping cart at the grocery will have a built-in scanner
and card reader.