Whether it's for budgeting or safety reasons, many people just don't like to carry a lot of cash on their person. But that can make taking a taxi a chore.
Taxis in Chicago are equipped with credit card readers, and they're supposed to accept them, but many cab drivers will put up a stink when you whip out your Visa.
Enter "Taxi Magic," an application from RideCharge Inc. that allows travelers to book and pay for a cab using mobile smartphones, like BlackBerry and Apple iPhone. The software allows customers to set up accounts with their credit card information.
Out of the plethora of taxi cab companies in Chicago, only two -- Flash Cab and 303 Taxi -- are currently linked to the service.
When riders hail a cab through the application, they'll receive an alert with the driver's name, the cab number, about how much it should cost, and how long it should take to get there. The fare and the tip are paid for through RideCharge, with receipts sent by e-mail.
The service carries a $1.50 charge per ride.
The application can also be used in about 30 other major U.S. cities.