While this post from TechCrunch on Zong and the new Zong+ is long, and covers a lot of ground on Zong, it leaves out what David Allen might call the Crazy Maker viewpoint.
Leena Rao (the author) pits Zong as a potential PayPal killer, which it certainly could be, but my Crazy Maker idea is that Zong could take on credit cards as we know them.
I’ve already mentioned this concept to my wife so many times I’ve learned to stop even saying anything remotely related to it, but: Why can’t I pay for stuff using my phone instead of my credit card? Sure, I’d still probably have to carry around my library card (until they start accepting phone numbers instead of library card numbers), cash, and my driver’s license. But, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my wallet or having someone steal my card or spy on my card number. Why? Well, if you’re asking, you clearly didn’t read the TechCrunch article (and I can forgive you for that), so here’s the short version:
1. You give Zong your phone number and – with Zong+ – your credit card number.
2. You buy something and put in your phone number instead of any other number or email or whatever.
3. Zong sends you a PIN number via text message.
4. Put in the PIN number and you’re done. Paid!
Now imagine… You’re at the grocery store… instead of sliding your card in the credit/debit card machine, you punch your phone number into a PIN pad. A text is sent to your phone. You put the PIN from the text into the PIN pad. Done!
Yes, I realize it’s not all that much easier than the process for using a credit card, but it means that someone can’t take your card (if you drop it or leave it somewhere) and go on a shopping spree. More importantly, identity thieves won’t be able to sell credit cards they steal in shady internet chat rooms because they’d have to have your phone to get the PIN number text message in order to complete the transaction! Bam, said the lady!