A Palo Alto, Calif., startup called Bling Nation allows consumers to make purchases using only their phones -- no cash or credit cards required. Users buy products by tapping a small sticker on their phone against a reader provided to participating businesses, which transfers money from a PayPal account. With a 1.5% charge from Bling Nation for each transaction, the service is cheaper for retailers than credit card purchases, and allows for much more detailed data collection. Major companies including Apple, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are taking Bling Nation's lead and developing their own mobile-payment services.
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