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Bickering Blocks US Mobile Phone Payments

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the they're-not-insisting-on-picking-up-the-tab-either dept.

Cellphones 267

theodp writes "Imagine a technology that lets you pay for products just by waving your cellphone over a reader. You wouldn't have to if you lived in Japan, where people have been using it for the last five years to pay for everything from train tickets to groceries to candy in vending machines. While nearly everyone who's tried it has liked this form of payment, consumers in the United States won't be able to wave-and-pay anytime soon: The companies that must work together to give the technology to the masses can't agree on how to split the resulting revenue."

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Oyster cards! (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606203)

I've used the Oyster cards mentioned and they are pretty neat. They can store up to £90 of credit, which can be used to pay as you go, plus your Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass. You can use them on any bus, Tube, trams, DLR, London Overground and some National Rail services in London.

Re:Oyster cards! (5, Informative)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606277)

They can also be hacked [zdnet.co.uk] , which is also pretty neat if you're the hacker, but not if you're trying to build an infrastructure based on the cards.

Come to think of it, Chaum's electronic money (digital cash), especially the off-line anonymous variants, would be very well suited to the kind of mobile payments discussed in the article; and such a solution would preserve all the important properties of "ordinary" cash.

Re:Oyster cards! (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606623)

I for one, am not anxious to see yet another way to conveniently spend money come to the US.

We have enough of a problem today with people living way beyond their means, and impulse spending with the credit and debit cards we have today.

Aside from the obvious problems we have in the US with a sense of entitlement to the luxuries in life, I think easy means of payments like this work like chips in a casino do. They abstract the fact that you are spending REAL money. You forget that you bought those chips with cold hard cash. With things like credit / debit cards...you tend to forget that you have to pay for them later (wich cc's), or that your bank account just lost some cash to this transaction.

Waving a phone in front of a machine, to me, would have the same effect.

Re:Oyster cards! (0, Troll)

BazilBBrush (1259370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606743)

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.........

Or in this case, when they put pen to paper...

Re:Oyster cards! (4, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606831)

You're not eager to introduce a payment option that has less overhead costs than physical money?

Let's consider the ticket system used by JR and Tokyo metro. Millions of people passing through those gates per hour across Tokyo, and there's someone out fixing the ticket-eating mechanical parts quite regularly.

Add in the costs of having guys go around collecting coins from and filling in ticket paper into the ticket producing terminals.

Handling money costs a lot of money, and they are pushing the SUICA cards real hard with advertisement everywhere. So every passenger who's not using one of those RFID cards means less profit.

You're advocating lowering consumption by making it harder to pay...

Re:Oyster cards! (3, Insightful)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607047)

As long as the money grubbing corporation are involved, there will always be more overhead.

See: $2.00 fees on ATM transactions if you use the wrong bank machine.

In spirit, it's a great idea, however will not ever be useful if someone 'has to get paid' to use the service. There may be overhead with cash, but if you're counting (and many are these days) there is no value-add if it costs more.

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607233)

"Let's consider the ticket system used by JR and Tokyo metro. Millions of people passing through those gates per hour across Tokyo, and there's someone out fixing the ticket-eating mechanical parts quite regularly."

Well, honestly, for most cities in the US, this is not a problem, as that most of the cities in the US have access or use a 'metro'.

Personally, I perfer to use cash. I take out a few hundred dollars each week, and I can easily see how much I'm spending as the week goes on.

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606897)

And what value exactly does a green piece of paper have? Why not go the whole hog and ban currency, people might not spend so wastefully if they could see the real cost of what they are spending (2 eggs for the morning newspaper, a few grams of gold for the electricity etc).

I and others who shop for entertainment media (DVD, CDs and games) online using 'plastic' and get things a damn site cheaper than people who go into stores and pay with physical currency. I and others who use an Oyster card (prepay travel card) get London Underground travel far cheaper than those who pay with cash. These and other examples show that alternative forms of payment can be of benefit to the purchaser.

There are a number of issues with making a mobile phone a form of payment, and yes possibly a minor one will be that it allows people who are poor at managing expenditure to be even worse at it, just like currency. However most people will benefit from the convenience and still manage not to go bankrupt.

You make your point well, but it doesn't stop your point being a variant on "Get off my lawn".

Re:Oyster cards! (2, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607143)

(2 eggs for the morning newspaper, a few grams of gold for the electricity etc)

Pssst.... that'd be currency. What, do you have a gold mine in your backyard?

And where did you get that gold? Oh, you traded some of your squash plants for a shiny metal?

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607303)

"I and others who use an Oyster card (prepay travel card) get London Underground travel far cheaper than those who pay with cash."

Howeer, there is a down side to this. It provides yet another way for the govt. to track your movements. I just don't want to give them any information on this, or keep them from getting as much as possible.

I've only ever had to once live for awhile that had a toll bridge I had to take. Rather than get a discount, and get one of those RFID speed pass things....I'd just pay cash to go across. I like to live as untraceable an existance as possible within reason. I like to pay in cash whenever possible. And...I find, when I take out X hundred in cash each week, by the end of the week, I can see every plainly how much I'm spending, and I must say, since I've switched to this manner of payment, I seem to spend less. I tend not to buy piddly crap here and there. When I spend cold hard cash, I tend to think twice about my expenditures.

Re:Oyster cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606965)

perhaps have your balance displayed before/after you pay? that would stem some purchases...

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

Fastfwd (44389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607007)

I think the real problem is not with having too many different way to pay for something. The problem is the lack of consequences to people who live on credit.

I'm not saying that banks should be allowed to send out goons to break your legs but it definitely should not be so easy to declare bankruptcy and banks should do their part by being more strict with credit cards and limits.

Re:Oyster cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26607353)

I for one, am not anxious to see yet another way to conveniently spend money come to the US.

We have enough of a problem today with people living way beyond their means, and impulse spending with the credit and debit cards we have today.

Yes damn it, people should receive electrical shocks when they spend money.

We've been using methods other than physical money for so long here the public transportation in a few cities have stopped taking them all together and are rolling out payment by SMS and payment by CC.

It works fine in the countries that implement them, you are just afraid of leaving your bubble universe rationalized by anecdotal evidence.

Re:Oyster cards! (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606305)

Expect an Oyster card (London transport card) integrated into a mobile phone in the next couple of years (I read that somewhere, I think it was official).

There's also the Barclay's credit card, RFID credit card (no need to enter a PIN for transactions under £10) and Oyster card (all three).
http://www.barclays.co.uk/credit-cards/search/index.htm [barclays.co.uk]

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606327)

Here in little Sg, a new card system is also being implemented, replacing the current two incompatible systems.

  • Current: EZ-Link [wikipedia.org]
  • Current: NETS [wikipedia.org]
  • New: CEPAS [wikipedia.org]

There's also a ongoing contest [ridesmrtandwin.com] where we are enticed with holiday trips. All we have to do is to SMS our card's serial number, and national identity number. The contest is very, very widely promoted, with posters everywhere.

Cash! (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606443)

I've used cold hard cash, and that's neatest.

It's light, portable, needs no batteries and isn't subject to arbitrary restrictions or revocations. No devices or readers are needed. You don't need a "credit rating" to use it. And I can pay for pretty much anything, except those services which require me to spend extra cash on an alternative transaction medium.

Cash. Is. King.

Re:Cash! (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606483)

While I'm sure it'd feel pretty great to buy a Car or a House with a bucket of bills, I don't think many would appreciate the kingly feel of counting all that money. Unless you met at a bank and they counted it there or something. Car wouldn't be so bad if all you had were hundreds, but a house would still be pretty shitty to count.

Kinda like paying for groceries with pennies. Sure you could, but I don't think it would be recommended.

Not to mention maximum carry limits for cash, and being mugged.

Re:Cash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606549)

So you want to be able to buy a car or house by waving your cell phone at someone?!? I'm pretty sure larger purchases like that go through other channels than standard cash/CC/cell-phone-waving transactions.

Re:Cash! (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606887)

My father has bought vans with cash. I've bought construction materials costing thousands of dollars with 20s. But all of this is missing the point, anyway, as already observed by AC.

Re:Cash! (2, Interesting)

scotts13 (1371443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606913)

Hah! I recall an incident maybe 15 years ago when a customer called to delay picking up a computer system: "It'll take me a couple of days to transfer the funds to an account I can write a check from." I suggested he simply with draw the money in cash, and hand it to me. He was amazed! "I never considered you might accept cash." And I've paid for more than one new car with cash.

Re:Speaking of pennies.... (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607069)

I once got a parking ticket in the downtown core of my city... a ticket in which I disagreed with (only $7, but still, it's the principal).
So, I went to the bank and got $7 worth of rolled pennies, opened the rolls into a bag and proceeded to City Hall to pay my fine (being the smart-ass that I am).
To my surprise they refused the payment and it turns out there was an active by-law prohibiting the same thing that I was doing.
I guess sometime (about 30+ years ago) a man was upset for a $200 fine that he received from the City. He went to the bank and withdrew $200 in nickels and dimes, loaded them into a large bucket, went to City Hall and dumped it all over the floor. He then asked them to count it and get a receipt.
Here I thought I was crazy...

Re:Cash! (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607169)

I don't think anybody is going to buy a house or car by "waving" their cell phone either.

Anyway, buying a house with cash wouldn't be so bad. You spend hours going through inane boilerplate at the closing, which is often done in a bank anyway, so the additional "counting" period wouldn't be so terrible.

Re:Cash! (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606515)

No devices or readers are needed

please show me a vending machine where the above is true. The honor system bagel/snack table at the office doesn't count.

Re:Cash! (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606699)

It's light, portable, needs no batteries and isn't subject to arbitrary restrictions or revocations.

REally? Most stores TRY to impose illegal restrictions... the "no $50.00 or $100.00 bills" signs on gas pumps and store registers. That is an ILLEGAL restriction (here in michigan, refusal of legal tender as payment makes that debt paid in full)

I have seen tons of restrictions on cash. none legal and all put in place by some really stupid and uneducated managers or store owners, but there are certainly restrictions that you have to personally fight. Or you roll over and play good doggies like you are supposed to do.

Most people roll over and do what they are told. They obey very well.

Re:Cash! (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606881)

Those restrictions are quite legal in the UK. The shopkeeper isn't under any obligation to sell you anything, refusing £50 notes is common and legal (and as a side-effect, if you want £50 notes for some reason you'll need to ask at the bank when you make a withdrawl).

A debtor is always allowed to pay in cash (except you can only use up to £2 worth of 1p or 2p coins, and £5-ish of 5/10/20/50p coins, no limit for £1 or £2 coins). But there's no debt when you're buying something from a store.

Re:Cash! (3, Informative)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607015)

These restrictions on cash are quite often legal - "Legal Tender" by definition is by definition only required to be accepted for debts. Until a transaction has taken place in a store, no debt is owed.

While there are obvious exceptions (restaurants or non pre-pay gas come to mind) and there may be territories where laws handle this differently, in a large number of cases where there is no existing debt until payment has been agreed, shops are free to impose any sort of restriction they like.

Re:Cash! (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606845)

People paying with "cold hard cash" really slow down public transport. That's why it isn't allowed at busier bus stops in central London (there will be a machine to buy tickets from next to the stop). If you have an Oyster card you just touch it against the bright yellow reader as you get on, you hardly need slow down walking. If you've got a paper ticket, you just show it to the driver as you get on.

On ticket barriers at stations, RFID cards are much more reliable than paper tickets (especially paper tickets which lasted a month or more and tended to lose the information in the magstrip). If I travel regularly, they also save my time. I only need put credit on the card once in a while (or set it up to happen automatically, from my credit card), rather than queue and buy tickets every day.

If my Oyster card is stolen, I get most of the money back (I lose a £5 administration fee, I think). If my debit card is stolen, the same happens. The debit card is less useful to a thief anyway -- if I'm mugged, it's likely I'll be left with it, and only the cash will be taken.

I also don't need a credit rating to get a debit card, at least in the UK (I do need to be not bankrupt).

The downsides of cash (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607037)

I've used cold hard cash

It has some drawbacks as well:

  • If you get mugged, the cash is lost [in the same way money "on" your credit card isn't]
  • It's not waterproof
  • It's flammable
  • It's not loch Ness monster-proof if you have at least treefitty. On the other hand, it cures AIDS.

Strokes for fokes, horse for coarses... I think.

Re:The downsides of cash (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607163)

"It's not waterproof"

Heh, you never accidentally laundered your jeans with some cash in there? It doesn't harm anything.

I think authorities around the world want to marginalise cash because it's not traceable. If you think that's paranoid, consider they already stopped printing large denomination bills in the US because they're too handy for the drug trade.

Re:The downsides of cash (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607321)

I've used cold hard cash

It has some drawbacks as well:

  • If you get mugged, the cash is lost [in the same way money "on" your credit card isn't]
  • It's not waterproof
  • It's flammable
  • It's not loch Ness monster-proof if you have at least treefitty. On the other hand, it cures AIDS.

Strokes for fokes, horse for coarses... I think.

I would say the main downside of a credit card (besides not curing aids like cash-injected-in-the-vein can) is that credit card companies are pocketing a few percentage points of each transaction you make. You think the vendors are paying it, not you. Think again. The consumer ultimately pays for everything.

Re:The downsides of cash (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607505)

I would say the main downside of a credit card (besides not curing aids like cash-injected-in-the-vein can) is that credit card companies are pocketing a few percentage points of each transaction you make. You think the vendors are paying it, not you. Think again. The consumer ultimately pays for everything.

It cuts both ways. Handling cash is tremendously expensive (or did you think that armored cars and security staff were free?) and ultimately that increases the price of goods as well. You might not see it as a line-item on the receipt, but it's still there.

I've absolutely no idea about the relative cost of handling cash or credit cards.

Re:Cash! (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607161)

I love it too! Another advantage is that if you carry more than US$1000 in any pocket, it's always convenient to find it! No "where's my wallet?" "where's the card?". If you put the cash in a front pocket some ladies will find it even more appealing! ;)

Re:Oyster cards! (0, Flamebait)

kipkuch (1156207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606665)

In my country Kenya (that's spelt A-F-R-I-C-A for all you americans reading this). We have a service called M-PESA that allows for such functionality - you can basically pay anyone (person or business) that has an M-PESA account. Heck, you can even withdraw money from an ATM using just your cellphone. It goes without saying that all this is done without fancy 3g phones. look here: http://www.vodafone.com/start/media_relations/news/group_press_releases/2007/safaricom_and_vodafone.html [vodafone.com]

Re:Oyster cards! (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607325)

Thanks for assuming that all Americans are retarded! Real big of you. Play on the same field as the Americans that are stupid rather than rise above them.

What are the statistics for hacked bank accounts and the like because of that system? Similar for Oyster cards (though I've already seen some numbers for Oyster cards) if anyone can. What kind of security is being implemented in this? Can someone using a "blue tooth sniper rifle" get access to the card information (or my account information) by hacking my phone via bluetooth? Or how bout using the actual 3G connection the device is using?

I *love* electronic cash. Way easier to deal with. But I"m not going to open myself up to attack just for the sake of convenience.

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26607213)

Hell, just get the damned thing implanted in your hand. Why introduce an intermediate step when you can just skip right to the inevitable solution. Eventually human embryos will be engineered to grow a number of "diagnostic" and "communication" devices inside of them.

Micropayments. (2, Interesting)

the cleaner (1641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606217)

I wish that mobile- and micropayments would gain bigger focus in the intustry. There are first pilots going on here in Europe.

OTOH: some countries (South Asia, mostly) already have problems with malware on their phone "stealing" money by sending text messages...

I don't see what the problem is... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606233)

And I bet patents are blocking other companies from working together on it.

Re:I don't see what the problem is... (1)

BazilBBrush (1259370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606655)

And I bet patents are blocking other companies from working together on it.

Possibly, but I reckon it is more a case of the attitude of the relevant players.

In some cultures, companies still approach their business from a "provide a quality service for a reasonable price and the customers will come" philosophy. Are you old enough to remember companies like that in western countries?

Unfortunately in our capitalism at all costs way, too many companies approach their business from a "how much can we milk em for, how do we lock em in" philosophy.

So when there is some new you beaut tech just waiting for everyone, we get a situation aptly described in TFA as

"it is completely possible nothing will happen in mobile payments in the next five years if everybody keeps thinking only about their own piece of the puzzle."

Read as "piece of the pie"...

Maybe it's just me (5, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606235)

But I can't see how waving my cellphone over a reader is an improvement over waving my credit card. The credit card is thinner, lighter and more waterproof than a cellphone.

When I go out, I always carry a wallet. It has my driver's license, credit card and cash in it. My cell phone may or may not be with me, depending on what I'm doing. Maybe it's in the car, or my backpack. If I were going to wave anything over a reader, it would most likely be my wallet.

Perhaps it's because I'm over 50, but when I hear people talking about combining media player, cell phone, digital camera, [whatever] into one single unit, all I see is one item that does everything "not quite as well" as the original separate items. The cellphone/camera is only 3 megapixel...OK for some uses; but not as good as my Canon point-and-shoot. My phone can hold a few gigabytes of music, nothing like the 80 G in my iPod. If the performance of the composite were equal or better, you might have me as a customer, but for now, I'll pick and choose.

Re:Maybe it's just me (3, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606293)

Swiping credit cards just doesn't have the coolness factor of the Japanese wax-on-wax-off payment method.

Re:Maybe it's just me (2, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606331)

I bet you don't have a clock built into your sliced bread either.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606567)

I bet you don't have a clock built into your sliced bread either.

I'm still waiting for someone to show me the true benefits of this so-called "sliced bread".

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606783)

*hands gEvil a sandwich* *the sandwich is ticking*

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606911)

Benefits of Sliced Bread.
1. Time Saving. Before Sliced Bread the concept of a sandwich was a far more laborious job. A Soft bread was very difficult to cut, unless you have a very sharp knife. While the time of cutting bread is rather small for the one person sandwich. But for families of 3 or greater you need to cut sandwiches*2 times. And having kids you need to leave now with their lunches that time gets very hard.

2. More uniform nutrition. Unsliced bread could be a variant amounts either too think or too thin. Sliced bread makes it more uniform so you know that Jonny and Billy are getting the same nutrition from the bread.

3. Uniform cooking. A toaster would not have been useful without sliced bread. Sure modern ones may work now but those old ones you needed presliced bread for them to cook.

4. Mass production and shipping. Soft bread couldn't be sold at a level for mass production as the difficulty of cutting it. Hard breads are easier to bake so people would bake them at home/from the local baker. Presliced bread allowed the massproduction of a product that is difficult for individual to make uniformly, as well the convince, of being useful. Allowing more affordable food to span the country.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607193)

No, but it has a weather report. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606343)

My mobile phone is always with me. I'm well under 50 though (but over 20).

I think I'd still like a separate credit card even if there was one in my phone, for emergencies (a thief might take the phone, but probably won't be interested in a credit card they can't use and is obviously stolen).

Combining the devices means I only have to carry one thing, and charge one. If I want to take photos -- if I'm visiting somewhere -- I'll also take my camera, but the not-as-good camera on the phone is useful for the rest of the time, and it's always there. I can use it to snap the funny street sign (or person) I saw. I won't use it for wedding photos.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606415)

But I can't see how waving my cellphone over a reader is an improvement over waving my credit card. The credit card is thinner, lighter and more waterproof than a cellphone.

How many cards do you carry? Not just credit cards, membership cards to stores and the like, because this tech can handle it as well.

Now, how many cell phones do you carry?

What would really make me want it is if it has digital receipts. Paper reciepts now pad my wallet, need to be scanned (or inputted in) to some stupid software, and many often fade away before I have the chance (they should really illegalize the one week fading receipt).

When I go out, I always carry a wallet. It has my driver's license, credit card and cash in it. My cell phone may or may not be with me, depending on what I'm doing. Maybe it's in the car, or my backpack. If I were going to wave anything over a reader, it would most likely be my wallet.

That's great, no one is making you use this tech or making you give up the way you do things now.

Perhaps it's because I'm over 50, but when I hear people talking about combining media player, cell phone, digital camera, [whatever] into one single unit, all I see is one item that does everything "not quite as well" as the original separate items. The cellphone/camera is only 3 megapixel...OK for some uses; but not as good as my Canon point-and-shoot.

My Sony is old and only 3 megapixel. Cameraphones still aren't as good as it (specifically for macro shots) but then I don't tend to take pictures at the prescribed times (birthdays and the like) but rather spontaneously. I never carry my Sony around, I do carry my cell phone.

My phone can hold a few gigabytes of music, nothing like the 80 G in my iPod. If the performance of the composite were equal or better, you might have me as a customer, but for now, I'll pick and choose.

I'm sure iPhones will have close to that capacity in the next year or two.

Re:Maybe it's just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606527)

How many cards do you carry? Not just credit cards, membership cards to stores and the like, because this tech can handle it as well.

Two. Three if you count my driver license as a card.

Now, how many cell phones do you carry?

Normally, zero. I do own a cell phone, but my house and job have normal land-line phones.

I'm not trying to be a luddite here, but you did ask. Most people I know do not depend solely on their cell phones, and don't carry around a full deck of cards.

This tech will be fun for the technophiles, but it will also be more gimmicky, less available, less reliable, and more expensive than traditional methods. Or did you not see that the blocking issue is how companies will split the additional fees this is expected to generate.

CC's are american ... (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606473)

... most ppl outside of the US don't have one. I only have one for my internet purchases and international travels.

And I'm not quite sure how you do your payments with credit card, but I haven't ever used it by just waving it. I always have to use it by swiping it through something to read the magnetic strip, a technique which is well overdue for replacing as it is prone to misreadings and wear and tear.

Moreover, I think paying by mobile phone does not require the person payed to to actually check you balance, it's a kind of load the thing with credits payment. So it speeds up transactions.

I think the advantages over credit cards and magnetic strip cards in general are numerous.

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

onkelringnes (1390807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606569)

... most ppl outside of the US don't have one. I only have one for my internet purchases and international travels.

That's a bit of a broad statement isn't it? If you're only counting the developed world outside the US then I would think the opposite would be true. Wherever I go travelling I see credit cards being used all the time. I've got a stack of them, most of them I never use, but they get literally thrown after me.

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606659)

As I said, international travel is one of the reasons to own a credit card, which is why you see them all over the place when traveling.

But, sure, if you want to hear it more with more nuance, I know that the prevalence of CC's outside the US is much lower than inside the US and most people in the Netherlands and Europe would not think of using their cc (if they have one) for buying train tickets or paying at a supermarket.

Moreover, note that most of the large CC companies are american, which is a telltale sign of which markets are important for CC companies.

Re:CC's are american ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606741)

In the UK, most people seem to have credit cards, although debit cards are a lot more common than they seem to be in the US.

Re:CC's are american ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606767)

Credit cards are also very popular in the UK. And, like the USA, we are drowning in an ocean of consumer debt.

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606817)

Actually, in the U.S., for paying at the supermarket or paying for fares or tolls, or other everyday purcahses, most of us don't use our credit cards for that. That's what debit cards are for. Most of our debit cards have a Visa or MasterCard logo, so they are indistinguishable from credit cards in almost every way.

Credit cards are more for things that you don't have the money for right now, but will have the money for later or for buying things that you will pay for over a short period of time. They're a bit safer for using over the Internet, too.

Re:CC's are american ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606937)

English guy living in Australia here...

In the UK, ATM cards are pretty much all usable as debit cards as well. You use the ATM card to make a payment, and the funds immediately come out of your bank account. I believe it uses the same payment system and infrastructure as credit cards, so the number on the card is also a credit card number.

In Australia, bank cards can be used the same way, but using a completely separate payment system to credit cards. Which is very annoying if you want to pay for stuff online, because you're forced to get a separate credit card. Real debit cards are almost unheard of here.

I've seen very few people here actually use credit cards to pay for things, unless they don't have enough money in their bank account, or they've run into the typically low ($500 per day) limit on bank card use.

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606689)

I'm not sure where you come from, but most brits have one or two as well. Not sure about continental europe, mind.

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606947)

I'm not sure where you come from, but most brits have one or two as well. Not sure about continental europe, mind.

They are more likely to have debit cards (but as they look exactly the same, and use the same processing companies, it would be difficult to notice the difference).

Well, we have all have our personal hells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26607083)

"I always have to use it by swiping it through something to read the magnetic strip"

I know, damnit! Why can't people stop this kind of thing. It's like an English workhouse from the 1800's the way we have to go around swiping cards. It's against the Geneva convention!

Thank god I'll soon be able to wave my phone. About time!

Re:CC's are american ... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607349)

... most ppl outside of the US don't have one.

That's a mighty bold claim. The only country I've been to where cash is used more often that credit or debit cards, is Switzerland.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606531)

they can't beam coupons to your credit card.

Think of the children! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606627)

Children have mobile phones before having credit cards.

Phones linked to their parents' accounts.

Giving children the ability to spend money on a whim is quite profitable.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606671)

You must have huge pockets.

Device convergence is a winning strategy.

Music player - actually there aren't that many with anything like 80G capacity these days, yet they still sell well. I have 8G in my phone (in the form of an SD card) and that's good for me. Some have 16. As flash advances in capacity, so will phones, and there are a huge amount of sales of flash iPods and other players.

Camera - who cares if you get better quality out of your point and shoot? Not many people carry a point and shoot. It's about having an adequate camera with you at all times. It's about taking a quick snap of friends/family at a restaurant, or someone dressed up weird on their way to a party, or a funny raod sign, or burger that looks like jesus. It's for situations where the act of taking a picture is more important than the picture itself, and it's about not purposely thinking "I'll take my camera out today". Spontaneity is what it gives you.

Convergence is great, especially for those of us that don't carry an ultra-geek backpack around with us everywhere we go.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606693)

The cellphone/camera is only 3 megapixel...OK for some uses; but not as good as my Canon point-and-shoot.

A 3 megapixel cellphone camera is probably good enough for anyone who measures the quality of a camera in megapixels.

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606843)

Agreed. If you want the best picture quality, you really need a DSLR and some nice lenses.

Re:Maybe it's just me (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606727)

Because I keep my credit cards in my wallet. my cellphone in my breast pocket. it's far easier for me to wave my phone than get out my wallet.

and most of you youngins' have your cellphone in your hands already sending , "WTF?" "OMG!!" and "BRB BFF!!!" to everyone you know every 6 seconds so having micropayments in your phone that is already in your hands is even more convenient.

BRB, I need to twitter this!

Re:Maybe it's just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606769)

wow, i imagine what this guy's lifestyle is if he keeps his credit cards more handy/accessible than his cellphone.
I'd like to think I use my cellphone more, daily, than my credit card.
And I'd like to think when my phone rings, I can pick it up in the allotted 15 seconds, while when the register rings, I have a pretty much infinite amount of time to dig in my purse to find my plastic.

Re:Maybe it's just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606847)

The cellphone/camera is only 3 megapixel...

Current cellphones (e.g. Sony Ericsson C905) are 8 megapixels. And the GPS lets you track where you took those photos (does your Canon know where it is?)

Re:Maybe it's just me (4, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606875)

If the performance of the composite were equal or better, you might have me as a customer, but for now, I'll pick and choose.

Then I might interest you with a toaster running BSD.

Think about it: you put some toasts in, go back to your computer, then when the toast is ready your computer says [record a female friend of yours saying this:] "your toast is ready".

It's also a cheap DMZ-able web server in its own right: no need to buy a different box to host your blog out of security concerns.

[be warned though: if someone roots the box, they might run "sysctl dev.heater.enable=1; sysctl dev.heater.temp = F451" and set your house on fire.]

Re:Maybe it's just me (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607107)

Yep, and the reasons the concatenated device doesn't equal any of the individual devices may be because it give the company that makes it a reason to offer you a better version next week.

I think a WiFi system would be pretty cool though. Some sort of OpenConf method for me to discover the merchant when in the building and have the receipt digitally sent to my phone over wifi and I just authorize the payment with a few clicks.

Basically a local version of a web payment

It wouldn't even require a connection to the internet just an ad-hoc WiFi network.

Can you pay me now? (3, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606243)

Hell, I'd be happy to just get cell phone COVERAGE in a lot of the US.

Sheldon

Re:Can you pay me now? (2)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606379)

Bravo! Reliable coverage IS something I'd be willing to pay for!

Re:Can you pay me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26607491)

I know you're trying to be funny, but Verizon has excellent coverage everywhere I go. Everywhere. They do have the worst cell phones though

Exists in Europe too (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606245)

We've had this in Europe for a while now, especially on vending machines and other such silly stuff, but almost nobody uses it. Not exactly certain why people don't use it, but it's just never quite caught on.

I think it's because we're all too conscious of our phone bills and don't want things like coke and such messing them up and making us think we've blabbed our mouth off too much. Or maybe it's because only certain cell phone carriers were in on the deal, thus leaving half of us without the option.

Re:Exists in Europe too (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606639)

Same thing would happen here in the States. There is no way in hell I would use my cellphone to pay for anything. Hell, I don't even buy ringtones or mobile software. (Especially not when there's lots of very nice open source J2ME spps out there. ;) )

But the point is that I want to keep my wireless bill as close to a fixed price as I can. It makes budgeting easy when you know your wireless bill will be, say $150 every month and it's not going to go up from there. That's why plans with unlimited nights and weekends and big blocks of anytime minutes are so popular here.

In Soviet Russia... (5, Funny)

Shivinski (1053538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606303)

...We have a similar system. You pay to wave...

My bank card never runs out of battery (2, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606319)

My bank card never runs out of battery, which is quite nice.
Also, I get it for free from the bank.

Re:My bank card never runs out of battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26607313)

They aren't always free, try a Spanish bank, 60 a year for the privilege of you trusting them with your money.

(Captcha grovel, how appropriate)

Awesome (5, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606325)

I can't wait to be able to steal money just by walking through a crowded room and "charging" each person's phone $5.

Re:Awesome (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606391)

I suspect it's entirely possible.

However, the card's value is also logged at a central server, in addition to being stored within the card itself.

While offline illegitimate transfers may be possible, your card may not be widely usable, due to checks being done at certain places.

Re:Awesome (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606579)

I can't wait to be able to steal money just by walking through a crowded room and "charging" each person's phone $5.

Um... How do you get everyone in the crowded room to enter their PIN and authorize the "charge"?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606725)

How do you get people to click 'OK' to download spyware?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606771)

I won't comment on whether it's possible or not, but you don't need to enter a PIN. They're designed to be fast and convenient. Basically the same thing as the already mentioned Oyster card (used for payment on public transport in London) and similar systems used in other cities, except they can be used for other purchases as well. And of course, some of them are in mobile phone form rather than card form.

Actually, I heard that it's planned for Oyster cards to be used in this way, for small purchases up to £10. Don't know when that's going to happen.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606837)

What part of "wave your cellphone over a reader" did you interpret as "enter a PIN"? The whole point of this system is to speed up low value transactions. There is no authorization.

The OP's attack is possible, but relies on cashing out before your merchant account is suspended and the police summoned.

Re:Awesome (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607203)

Um... How do you get everyone in the crowded room to enter their PIN and authorize the "charge"?

TFA says nothing about a PIN. Indeed, I would imagine having to enter a PIN would pretty much remove any of the additional convenience over a Credit or Debit Card.

The usual defence against the idea of hijacking payments is that you need to be within a few centimetres for NFC to work, to which I typically respond "you don't catch the [subway|tube|metro|etc] very often, do you ?".

Finally, those things can sometimes activate from a surprisingly long distance. I've seen an Oyster or SUICA card trigger the reader from a good 15-20cm away on more than one occasion (conversely, I've had to slide it across the top of the reader multiple times on many occasions, as well).

The hard thing settling is the credit risk (1)

chrisarn (613220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606403)

One of the big things that is hard to settle is the credit risk. A phone operator bills the customer and there is a non zero risk that the customer won't be able to pay his bill. This is one of the issues with paying with your phone.

Re:The hard thing settling is the credit risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606445)

One of the big things that is hard to settle is the credit risk. A phone operator bills the customer and there is a non zero risk that the customer won't be able to pay his bill. This is one of the issues with paying with your phone.

AFAIK, billing for purchased items would continue to be done by the credit card companies. The revenue question referred to in the summary is likely a question of how much the cell phone company would be paid for expediting the transaction.

Re:The hard thing settling is the credit risk (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606541)

As far as I understand, the payment account is pre-paid, at least in current implementations. But of course, Americans are known for liking credit a great deal, so maybe it'll change :)

Fraud risk too (1)

bbernard (930130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607469)

Absolutely. That, and the fraud risk. Who is responsible when my cell phone is stolen, cloned, etc. and somebody runs up a huge bill using it to pay for things? If my credit card is stolen, US law limits my responsibility to $50. If there are fraudulent charges, I can contest them with my credit card company and they and the retailer bear the liability to validate the charge. I'm sure that the cellular companies aren't too keen to take on these risks themselves, so they'll either try to find a partner (the credit card companies or banks) or they'll try to pass the liability all the way to the end user.

One thing that will completely prevent me from being interested in this form of payment is the level of risk I am assuming when I use it. Ask me why I don't use a debit card? Because there's a higher risk to my cash flow if somebody drains my checking account than if somebody hits my credit card limit.

Everyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606405)

Everyone likes it? I doubt it. It may be convenient, but convenience always comes with a price. With credit cards, it's theft of your card number, merchant fees, and risks to your credit history. What are the risks with cell phone payments?

Candy?! (2, Funny)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606543)

>> candy in vending machines

Sure, some of the rubber has fruity flavour but calling them candy?

Edy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26606613)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edy

You bought how many train tickets? (1)

OhMickey (1053630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606791)

... I've got MS and wound up paying for like 30 tickets one day because I stood there shaking.
The resultant discussion at customer service brought out my turrets.
r--Micke

I for one am glad (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606799)

I just can't see an American company getting this right w/o 'accidentally' overcharging me or just screwing it up completely. I don't need another billing problem to call Sprint about.

Government intervention (1)

Fjan11 (649654) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606813)

Although I'm a staunch believer in free markets, for basic infrastructure like payment systems perhaps a guiding role by the government wouldn't be a bad idea, just like they have a role with regular old currency.

Privacy Anyone? (1)

JWman (1289510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606873)

I'm not a fan of the "Pay Wave" features on credit cards even. I don't especially like the idea of my information being transmitted from my wallet anyone in my immediate vicinity with a reader. Especially when the payoff to me is zero. I think "Pay wave" is a useless feature. Is it THAT hard to swipe a card instead of "wave" it in front of a reader? Then at least I don't have to worry about other people on a bus/subway/crowd who are close enough to steal my info without ever touching my wallet.
Given my distaste for this feature on credit cards, I sure as hell don't want it on my cell phone.

The real story here is the failure of businesses to work together to deliver a feature to consumers (many of whom would no doubt enjoy this feature).

It's been 5 years . . . (3, Interesting)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606923)

And yet I've yet to see one in use in Japan. Granted I only stay a month there every year, but cash is king in Japan and Asia in general. I rarely see credit cards being used (although it has become a bit more common over the past 15 years).

Another feature I don't need (3, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26606997)

Now, when the salesman gets finished telling me about their latest phone which can do everything short of transforming into a giant robot (feature available in the next model) and asking what I'd like to do with it, I'll look like even more of a Cellphone Luddite by saying "make calls." I don't text, rarely take cell phone photos, and don't check the Internet from my phone. I upload my own ringtones ( http://www.myxer.com/make/ [myxer.com] ) and don't care about applications or games on my phone. All I do is make phone calls.

Mark of The Beast? (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607119)

Seriously, people are really disconnected from their money when they are disappointed they can't just bump their phone but have to manually swipe a card. Everyone is in such a rush to let the government control their money (and that's going well) & have convenience that they don't realize it's having less and less worth. Just a bunch of credits in a computer which soon you won't be able to get by without. As for me, cash is always the way to go. If it 'holds up the tube', it's the system's designers fault, not the cash paying customer. "Hi sorry, all I have is real money". I'll give you three chickens for that iPod.

Re:Mark of The Beast? (1)

zrq (794138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607315)

Given that the paper and metal tokens are just that - tokens that represent a promise to pay (something - now no longer certain) at a later date.
What exactly is 'real money' ?

Just like the waving of credit card (2, Interesting)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607385)

It would be cool feature, if there were readers for it. As is, I can barely use my card with RFID at 2 local establishments. And at one it does not work properly all the time. Everyone else still has old credit card readers, and they have no incentive to throw away what works.
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