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    The funds were transferred instantly and with no transaction fees.

    What sliver of plastic and payment terminal did you use?

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      I suspect Terrance means no fees from his point of view; the merchant will no doubt have paid a fee to Mastercard or Visa.

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        “The future is already here - it’s just not evenly distributed.”

        I work in payment systems. Surcharging is very much still a going concern.

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      I’d like to say checking-in to the hotel was a magical experience where they recognised my iris prints and whisked me off to my room. But hotels are so 20th century! At least they gave me an RFID token to unlock my door - no magnetic strips to gradually demagnetise in my pockets, and no jagged bits of metal to scratch my screens.

      Marriott has been improving this quite a lot. If you have the app on your phone and have paid by card, you can do the check-in before you arrive and go straight to the room and let yourself in with the phone.

      A lot of the article resonated with me but it also highlights the problem of phone roaming charges. Most of the things described would not be possible with high roaming charges. I use OSMAnd on my phone because it works with offline maps, so I’m not reliant on having a working data connection. That hasn’t been a problem for me for a few years but since Brexit roaming charges are coming back for UK travellers in the EU and a lot of carriers have very high ones for non-EU destinations.

      Some of the things have improved a lot even in the last few years. I visited Tokyo in 2014 and I was able to walk from the station to my hotel (about 15 minutes) without my phone (which had been on since I landed) being able to get a GPS signal lock. It could probably see enough satellites but it relied on having an approximate initial position fix to simplify some of the calculations. If you turned it off, moved it a few thousand miles, and then turned it back on then it took a very long time to figure out where it was (if you connected to a WiFi network that it recognised, then it would use this location as a starting point). Today, my phone knows about GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo and so it can always see a lot of satellites, and it has enough processing power that it doesn’t need an initial fix. It generally knows where I am a few seconds after I leave an airport (often before, but a surprising number of airport terminal roofs a good at blocking GPS signals).

      My last few trips to the US have not involved spending any cash. Credit card payments are reliable and the currency conversion fees are fairly competitive with local places (and a lot better than the exchange rate that you’ll get at an airport!)[1]. Having a mostly universal payment mechanism is fantastic. I’d love it if my card issuer could provide a currency-conversion app that let me see how much something I’m looking at would cost in my local currency if I bought it with the card right now, though they seem to prefer to make it very hard to figure that out without buying something. I’d even be tempted by a smartwatch if it had the functionality of doing that in communication with the card company such that the price was guaranteed when I got to the checkout (bonus points if it could also tell me the tax that would be added on top and any expected tip amount).

      [1] I really hate the way that a load of places offer ‘commission free’ currency, but they have a large spread between their buy and sell prices and so are charging… a commission. But somehow the fact that it’s a percentage of the total amount lets them advertise that it isn’t one?

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        If you have the app on your phone

        I really do not want to install some company’s code on my phone. I can only imagine what sort of invasion of privacy their developers think is appropriate.

        I like keys, to be honest. No electricity, no fuss. And they don’t scratch anything, because I keep keys in one pocket and my phone in the other!