CNet reports of an increasing trend that permits wireless credit and debit card transactions.

When Michelle Dubé, 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 range.

It takes only a few seconds, and it saves Dubé 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 cell phone 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 these niches.

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.

URL: Wireless moves the cash register where you are

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