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Cashless shopping: coming soon to a store near you

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LG Electronics plans to launch a swipe payment system in Europe next year that would allow consumers to pay for goods using their smartphones. It's called "near-field communications," and it's coming your way.

Electronics manufacturer LG plans to launch a swipe payment system in Europe next year that would allow consumers to pay for goods using their smartphones.

According to a Reuters report, the technology will be rolled out for small and medium-sized businesses, starting the slow march toward a cashless, credit card-less system.

The underlying point-of-sale technology that enables consumers to leave their wallets at home is called "near-field communications," or NFC for short. It allows the exchange of data between electronic devices at close range.

The tech is beginning to appear in the latest generation of smartphones and tablet computers. Now, companies want to incorporate it into our daily lives -- so that the next time you stop by the convenience store, you can pay by swiping your smartphone across an electronic reader at the register, which then draws the funds directly from your bank account.

Reuters reports:

Analysts Frost & Sullivan have said they expect that by 2015 there will be more than 860 million NFC-enabled mobile phones in use and that the NFC technology will be the most-used solution for mobile payment.

For now, the LG tech is in beta testing. The company is aiming to roll it out in Europe in 2012, with potential applications in the hospitality, retail, corporate, transportation, education and public sectors.

The future of retail: it's no longer forgetting your wallet, it's forgetting to charge your phone.

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure