Today, mobile technology is so advanced that you can do many different things with your cell phone other than making calls. GPS (Global Positioning System) function, for example, can conveniently show you where you are and how to get to your destination. Having your child carry one, the GPS phone helps you monitor where your child is and what he or she may be doing. The system is built upon a high-speed communication network called 3G (3rd Generation), which also provides the base of "1seg" (wansegu) terrestrial digital broadcasting service. Some phone sets are even waterproof now.
A cell phone is also a key devise for various electronic money services. By downloading and installing a special application on a phone, users can charge or add credit to their account and use it at convenience stores and vending machines simply by holding the phone over the reader to scan. To use it as a commuter pass or train ticket, users simply touch the scanner with the phone at the ticketing gate.
While new models and functions are constantly being introduced to the market, it has been discussed how we should recycle old phones that people do not use after switching to a new one. Recycling cell phones is a great way to reuse our resources. As it is often referred to as "urban mine," each cell phone set contains pieces of precious metals such as gold and silver and also other rare metals including palladium. Many cell phone dealers voluntarily collect old phones of any brands and makes free of charge and disassemble them with special tools in front of customers so that their important personal information that the sets may still contain won't be leaked to third party. If you own a cell phone, remember to recycle it when you don't use it anymore to save valuable resources.
Mobile Recycle Network (in Japanese only)
At stores and train stations, a card system using electronic money, or "denshi manee" in Japanese, is becoming more popular throughout Japan. Over 100 million electronic money cards have already been issued in the country, allowing people to enjoy a fast checkout at a cashier and the convenience of shopping and traveling without carrying change. The introduction of electronic money is also believed to be effective in reducing cash-targeting crimes.
Electronic money cards are available either as a prepaid card or a postpaid card. To use prepaid cards, users "charge" or deposit money to their card account in advance. While a variety of prepaid cards are available, they are largely categorized in two types--one used for transportation such as trains and buses and the other for shopping at super markets and convenience stores. Many of the transportation prepaid cards also work as a commuter pass and can be used at kiosks and stores at the stations and their vicinity. Users of postpaid cards, on the other hand, do not need to charge the cards in advance, since they work like a credit card or debit card and deduct the payment directly from the user's bank account. The difference between the postpaid card and the conventional credit card is that users of the postpaid card are not required to sign receipts at cashers, making a faster checkout possible.
Many electronic money cards give points to the users, which continue to accumulate as users travel or shop and can eventually be exchanged for some products or for e-money credit added to the user's account. Enjoy the convenience of not carrying coins and small bills and save your time and money.
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