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Apple Hints At Near-Field Payments System In Next-Gen iPhone, iPad

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the please-swipe-this-spot-on-your-screen dept.

Iphone 164

An anonymous reader writes "The smartphone seems to be well on its way to becoming the next wallet; and Apple could be pushing that movement along. Reports from several outlets suggest the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant has plans to put a near-field communications chip in the next versions of the iPhone and iPad for contactless payments technology. The latest report, from blog Apple Insider, says Apple has put up two job postings for two global payment platforms managers."

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164 comments

TFSite (4, Informative)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043124)

The site is incredibly obnoxious. Ads pop up over the content from time to time. Avoid if possible. Hope someone can find an article on this on another site.

Re:TFSite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043256)

Pop-ups? Dude, it's 2011. Install AdBlockPlus and NoScript already. They are free, you know. No pop-ups anywhere. The problem is solved.

Re:TFSite (5, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043278)

I installed adblock but then extricated it again, because I felt guilty. Ads are what pay for my free internet, free movies/dramas (TV), and free music (radio). I'd sooner deal with them than deal with a monthly subscription.

Re:TFSite (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043390)

You're very odd.

Re:TFSite (3, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043474)

Not odd. Honest.

Re:TFSite (0)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043720)

Nope, I don't perceive see anything dishonest about blocking ads. Could you give me a step-by-step explanation? What did I agree to? What harm am I causing? Who is losing out, and precisely how? Make sure not to make any assumptions beyond that I choose to block ads.

Re:TFSite (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044130)

>>>Not odd. Honest.

And cheap. I don't want to see websites or radio or TV turn into a pay-for-access medium, because everyone is using ad-blocker and advertisers stop buying airtime.

Re:TFSite (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043484)

I installed adblock but then extricated it again, because I felt guilty. Ads are what pay for my free internet, free movies/dramas (TV), and free music (radio). I'd sooner deal with them than deal with a monthly subscription.

I understand and share your dilemma. What I decided to do was install AdBlock, but not subscribe to any of the filter sets. When I come across obnoxious ads, I define a filter rule to block ads from that source.

It took a little while, but generally I don't see the obnoxious ads anymore. The ones that aren't obnoxious don't bother me - I glance at them, then go on with my reading.

Re:TFSite (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043572)

I installed adblock but then extricated it again, because I felt guilty. Ads are what pay for my free internet, free movies/dramas (TV), and free music (radio). I'd sooner deal with them than deal with a monthly subscription.

Thank you! Your watching of annoying ads is what gets me free access to internet sites without viewing the ads. If it wasn't for the nice folks like you, those sites would either shutdown or paywall themselves. So, here's to you and others like you who view ads for me. Please know that you are much appreciated for this.

Re:TFSite (1)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044312)

You're either an idiot or a troll. My guess is the latter - nobody with half a brain likes to waste time watching ads or searching for content on a webpage that's obstructed by Flash ads.

Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043296)

More on topic...can this chip be disabled, or even better, removed or not added as an option?

I do NOT want anything like this capability on my phone that I carry everywhere....

I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down...and really, one good hack on this thing, or a stolen phone...how much money could you potentially lose if this thing acts like a debit card and takes it straight out of your checking??? I don't have a debit card for reasons like that....that your funds are gone, and don't come back until your prove it wasn't you as opposed to CC's where at least you don't have the money taken out immediately.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043350)

Why not wait and see how it's implemented before judging it?

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043380)

Why not wait till this is fully rolled out in plastic form, before putting it in a smartphone.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044034)

Why not wait till this is fully rolled out in plastic form, before putting it in a smartphone.

Way too late for that.

NFC and phone based payments have been huge in Japan for many years. Plastic does not let you password protect it. (Pin on the terminal maybe, but not passwords).

With NFC you will have the ability to pay with your choice of cards, or pay anonymously with only Google or Apple knowing the actual account. And your data can be heavily encrypted on your device.

It can unlock your car, or your house if you want it to.

But best of all, it shuts off when you want it to. The plastic versions in your pocket can be read by anyone with a bit of technology in the brief case. This has been demonstrated in spite of assurances that you have to nearly touch the plastic cards to the terminals to pay.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (4, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043356)

.can this chip be disabled, or even better, removed or not added as an option?

Yes don't buy an iphone etc...

I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down..

and you wonder why they are doing this?

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043426)

And as long as the other phone manufacturers don't you're fine. But if it ends up being like other advancements such as those stupid soft keyboards on smart phones it gets harder and harder to find something decent that doesn't have one.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044076)

Sorry, its too late tow worry about it being only an Apple thing.

The Nexus S phone [google.com] already has NFC already. Apple is definitely behind on NFC. Google already has a processing consortium set up with Barclay's and credit card clearing houses to handle the payments.

You can always turn it off and carry your less secure credit cards, or vastly less secure cash.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044386)

Less secure? Neither cash nor credit cards can be scanned without removing them from my pocket. And neither of them can be hacked into without my knowledge. Sure I still have to look out for skimmers and be mindful who I allow to handle them, but all in all they're a lot more secure than NFC is. Remember NFC is just an extension to RFID which is known to be riddled with security problems.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (3, Informative)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044692)

Less secure? Neither cash nor credit cards can be scanned without removing them from my pocket.

Both can be removed from your pocket. Once removed, cash is 100% insecure, and credit cards can be easily used until fraud/theft is discovered and the card is disabled.

And neither of them can be hacked into without my knowledge.

Cash has no need to be hacked (though it actually can, and sometimes is). And every time you hand over your credit card, you open it up to exploit.

Sure I still have to look out for skimmers and be mindful who I allow to handle them, but all in all they're a lot more secure than NFC is. Remember NFC is just an extension to RFID which is known to be riddled with security problems.

Such as? It uses public key encryption. You can't just "clone" someone's NFC phone, and start making purchases. As a phone owner, you can enable further security mechanisms, which make it far more secure than either cash or traditional credit cards.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044712)

And with many credit cards you get rfid whether you want it or not. And it can be scanned without you taking it out of your pocket from at least ten feet away.

Unlike rfid, NFC is an active component which can be turned off when not in use.

Both rfid and nfc can be canceled should they fall into the wrong hands. Try that when you get mugged for your cash.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (2)

romanval (556418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043534)

Sure, the chip can be there, but if you don't have a NFP account then it doesn't matter.

From what I heard it's for small transactions; like convenience stores, lunch outings, vending machines, etc. A limit of $50 a day or such. You can't buy a car with it.

The NFP chip needs to be less then 4 inches from the scanning device to work; if it uses a 2-way key encryption (layered with session encryption), so it would be difficult for a 3rd party device to snoop anything useful.

It may prompt your *phone* to agree with the transaction (maybe ask for a PIN code, or a biometric scan). If the phone authenticates the transactions with your bank it would be difficult for someone to do many fraudulent transactions.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043802)

It may prompt your *phone* to agree with the transaction .

It won't do this as it will reduce the "usability" Banks skimped on chip and pin to keep the price down expect the same here.....

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044100)

It WILL do that. Stop spreading FUD.

There is a limit (user settable) on the size of transaction you allow, and per-day limits without the use of some form of approval. (This is already widely deployed in Japan and has been since before smartphones).

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043870)

"Sure, the chip can be there, but if you don't have a NFP account then it doesn't matter.

From what I heard it's for small transactions; like convenience stores, lunch outings, vending machines, etc. A limit of $50 a day or such. You can't buy a car with it.

The NFP chip needs to be less then 4 inches from the scanning device to work; if it uses a 2-way key encryption (layered with session encryption), so it would be difficult for a 3rd party device to snoop anything useful."

Ok, thanks..didn't realize this would be some special account you set up for this...new concept to me.

I was guessing at the very least, on an iPHone, that it might automatically try to even hook into the CC you give iTunes for an account signup. I've never bought anything from iTunes, but they did get a card from me a long time ago when I signed up for an account...seems they required it.

As for the having to be 4" away from it....and all the safety stuff, isn't that exactly what they said for RFID chips, like the ones in US passports now?

Shortly after implementation, I recall reading about a guy that showed he was able to construct a rig to scan and pick up and read peoples' RFID passports from distance.

I just would not trust this not be be done in the same type manner as soon as these things are out.

I'd prefer that it not even be installed on the phone I bought (was waiting for next gen of iPhone to replace my 3GS). This seems kind of like the other day when I found out that on a new corvette...OnStar installation is NOT an optiong anymore. But if you get a vette, you can manually remove the fucker.....guessing it would be nigh impossible to physically remove or deactivate this chip without screwing up the phone.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044624)

They require a card, but the card that can be an iTunes gift card, which you can get for cash at a number of locations.

The recent Amazon password debacle leads one to conclude it would be a good policy to use the gift cards even if you plan on buying a lot of music and apps from them.

Re:Can the chip be removed or disabled? (2)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043600)

I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down...and really, one good hack on this thing, or a stolen phone...how much money could you potentially lose if this thing acts like a debit card and takes it straight out of your checking???

Typically these schemes require the user to actively transfer money to a contact-less payment card, either manually or by direct debit, so they are a true equivalent to cash and do not threaten your main bank balance. See for example how the Oyster travel card scheme works in London. So it would just be like withdrawing 20 credits from a bank machine with your debit card, then using it to buy something. If they allowed access to all the funds in your account (or even a set amount per day), that would be insane and a huge invitation to fraud.

As to turning it off, I imagine Apple will have a switch in settings to do so, and you'd have to set up the account in the first place with your details and load it with money (probably a small amount).

Cash Back? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043136)

Not just a lot of ads, but my Mozilla Seamonkey addon shows they have 16(!) tracking cookies. Wow.

- For me the best feature of these kinds of technologies is "cash back". For example Discover Card lets me just wave my card to pay for stuff and then gives me 1% off my purchase. 5% for hotels (I just got back $40 on my last statement). Amazon has a card that gives 3% off books, games, et cetera, and AAA has a gas card that is also 3% off.

For Apple to make me want to use their Credit "near field" technology, I'd like some kind of discount, like maybe 3% off my apple.com purchases.

Re:Cash Back? (2)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043450)

Moreover, for Apple to make people use such technology, must ensure that it will be no easy target of malicious attacks. So attackers can't replicate account information, intercept data communications and whatever mechanism for identity theft.

Re:Cash Back? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044110)

Apple is not the leader in this technology. Google is. Google's NFC phone is already out. Apple's is just hinted at.

Better minds than Apple have been working on this for years. Its been deployed widely in Japan for many years now.

Re:Cash Back? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043524)

Um, these would be completely separate things. Regular credit cards can and do offer all of these things without needing any remote fraud chip.

different article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043152)

Several people commented on the ads and tracking cookies and whatnot on that site. Here's an alternate article [appleinsider.com] on the same topic.

brilliant (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043154)

This is why apple is so amazing, they keep inventing new stuff like this near field communication.

Re:brilliant (0)

rayray14 (591465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043262)

Actually, Apple didn't invent NFC.

In fact, what makes Apple the company they are now is not what they do, it's how they WAIT to release new features and functions until they're satisfied with it.

iPod: Rio came out with it first
iPad: Tablets have been around since the early 2000's
iPhone: Cell phones with touch functionality were around well before then (I still have my Treo sitting on my desk)

The same is for NFC; the technology has been in use for years in Europe and Asia. What's exciting with all these speculations is how Apple will choose to implement it.

Re:brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043322)

"Actually, Apple didn't invent NFC."

How dare you doubt Apple invented this, this will be the first mobile devices on the market with NFC. Apple will once again show us how it is the leader in innovation. Nokia and the android device makers like Samsung will just ripoff Apple's brilliant idea and soon start putting NFC chips in their devices.

Re:brilliant (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043492)

Technically, NFC is a requirement to sell any meaningful numbers in Japan and a couple of other Asian countries. It's been cited as the main reason of apple's utter failure in Japan for example (in addition to a couple of other usability features that are essentially mandatory on a phone to sell to anyone outside apple fan crowd in there).

Finally, the problem with NFC adaptation has exactly ZERO to do with phone makers. Nokia, with their ~40% worldwide market share two years ago drove really hard to get NFC payments rolled in.

Guess what stopped them? Essentially every single bank and credit institution wanting their own piece of pie. The reason Japan got it working was because they managed to get some decent agreements on terms early on. Now that the cake is big enough for everyone to want to draw blood over it, we have a situation where no credit organisation or bank will agree on a scheme without significant reimbursement, and their kind of "significant" would make NFC payments prohibitively expensive.

But if you want NFC, there's at least a dosen off the shelf nokia models that come with the chip. And then there's pretty much any japanese phone. Just grab one off the shelf/internet The only reason this is news that hit slashdot is because it has the five magical letters associated with it.

I'll bite (3, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043182)

Why do I want this? I'm more than willing to get a piece of plastic out of my wallet or on my keychain to pay for something. I can't wait for the hack that lets people walk by you and get you to pay for things. It's bad enough credit cards have RFID tags in them now. I don't need my phone doing it too.

Re:I'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043210)

Yea, why is NFC so damn popular in places like Japan, I wonder.

Re:I'll bite (1)

frnic (98517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043226)

Not too many years ago I was VP of Engineering at a high tech company. I was having lunch with the CEO and the conversation turned to those new fangled devices the bank had installed and he said, "Why do I want this, I am more than willing to go inside the bank". He of course was talking about the new Drive through ATMs. He said they would never catch on.

Re:I'll bite (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043354)

an ATM saves a lot of time standing at a slow moving bank teller line.

However NFC chips don't actually save time. If you stop watch an NFC swipe versus a CC swipe you would realize your still waiting for the cashier(yes even the robotic ones) more than the transaction.

I have an RFID credit card, that I use occasionally. I have been randomly testing to see which is actually easier. In the end I might as well swipe the card as I still have to sign the receipt anyways,unless the company you are purchasing from has an approved small cash sale no signing required. Even if they do I still have to wait for the receipt to actually print.

Re:I'll bite (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044276)

However NFC chips don't actually save time. If you stop watch an NFC swipe versus a CC swipe you would realize your still waiting for the cashier(yes even the robotic ones) more than the transaction.

Most countries outside the USA require some form of verification on a credit card. Last century it was a signature, which was checked against the card. In the modern age it's a pin number, which is theoretically more secure (but is almost as flawed as the u.s. signature method)

NFC, at least in the UK, is used for small transactions -- newspapers, coffee, tube. Replacing debit card payments with this for these types of low risk transactions is a good thing. Reducing the number of times you enter a pin means you're reducing the number of times your pin can be stolen. It's much faster too.

Re:I'll bite (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044376)

That's just it It isn't faster

The speed of the transaction is limited to the speed of the connection between reader/credit Processor

My debit card transactions are just as fast as your NFC transactions because it only takes three seconds to swipe and enter the pin, as opposed to one second for a swipe. your still waiting 15-20 seconds for the credit processor and printer to finish up the transaction anyways.

In the USA most retailers have an agreement with the credit card companies that purchases under $30 don't need to be signed for. So all you have to do is swipe.

Re:I'll bite (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043290)

It's bad enough credit cards have RFID tags in them now. I don't need my phone doing it too.

I disagree, although I think we share some common ground. I just received my first credit card with an RFID embedded. I don't like it because in order to "turn it off" I have to wrap it in tinfoil. Thus, I do want NFP. With my phone, I can actually run an app and (assuming a reasonable interface) only turn on its ability to do payments when I want to use it. It removes a security risk (or at least changes it from a risk from anyone who is near me to a risk from anyone who can remotely hack into my device and extract and decrypt info.

Re:I'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043468)

I'd prefer the app confirm payment:
[Vendor name] would like to charge [amount] - (Accept/Deny)

Other requirements:
The vendor should be PKI authenticated, with transactions signed by my private key.
The transaction should take place only between the vendor and me (it's none of Apple's business what I buy).

However, I'm not holding my breath in the hope that this will be implemented in a way that respects consumers.

Re:I'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043394)

Because you can pay with your iTunes account. Its like pay pal but for real life.

Re:I'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043930)

Paying with my iTunes is the last thing I would ever want to so.

I'm like one poster here in that I'm using Cash more and more. This is simply to get better control of my spending.
I spent a year unemployed and I still have a lot of debts to clear up. Not using Credit unless I have to is the norm for me these days.

I wonder if smartphones could be free... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043190)

It would be nice if you could receive a smartphone from your bank or credit union that was free except for the phone calls or data usage. I have a tracfone that deducts my data and phone usage per use. I spend about $15-20 per month on it. For a light user like me getting a smart phone and paying $60-70 per month would be a waste of money, but the banks could earn money on the debits & credit charges I make on the smart phone like they do now with my plastic debit and credit cards.

Why new chip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043236)

Why do new specialized chips have to be used for it, can't bluetooth be used for the same purpose? You can detect the signal strength and specify a high range so that the devices have to be close.

Re:Why new chip? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043442)

Because it's a different frequency and you don't want a programming error to result in the range increasing to several yards.

Why all the fuss (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043238)

I've seen a lot of stories pop up around this, but I'm not quite sure why - for one thing, doesn't the most recent Google Android phone already include an NFC chip and support in the OS? So it's not like Apple is the first here, they haven't even confirmed they are doing it!

Also, in more general terms, I don't know why people get freaked out about this. It's just another way to pay for things.

Re:Why all the fuss (1, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043284)

Android phone has NFC equipment: Yay! Huzzah! That is the way of the future.

Apple device has NFC equipment: Boo! Hiss! Mark of the Beast. Evil conspiracy!

That's why they needed this article.

Re:Why all the fuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043416)

Because Apple did it. If Apple doesn't do it, it doesn't count. CES had tons of cool stuff in the mobile space, but if you were reading Slashdot you wouldn't know it. Did you hear, though, 8 month old iPhone4 is coming to Verizon! And Apple _might_ implement an existing tech a competitor already has.

Re:Why all the fuss (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043490)

I don't know why people get freaked out about this. It's just another way to pay for things.

It's just another thing for people to hack. It's bad enough that Apple stores most of my credit card number on my Iphone.

Re:Why all the fuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043806)

I don't want anyone to make it easier for me to pay someone. I want the payment process to be an interruption. That automatically prevents me from losing the connection between the product/service and the price. I'm weird like that. I also don't take consumer credit. Credit is for investments only.

Besides, I have yet to see an anonymous electronic payment system. Most NFC-systems even use unique and static IDs before the reader has proven authorization to the device, enabling anyone with a cheap reader to get your GUID by just standing close to you. Do not want.

Cash is king.

Your CC is NOT in your iPhone (1)

romanval (556418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043966)

Apple stores your CC details on your iTunes account, not your phone. Your phone will ask for the account password to authenticate media & app purchased though it, but the CC transaction details happen between apple and your CC company (not your phone).

Re:Your CC is NOT in your iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35044014)

Why the hell would a music player keep track of my credit card information?
Apple and their goddamned misnomers.

Re:Your CC is NOT in your iPhone (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044474)

Why the hell would a music player keep track of my credit card information? Apple and their goddamned misnomers.

Why the hell would somebody not be able to tell the difference between a "music player" and an "account"? Apple haters and their goddamned lack of a brain.

Re:Why all the fuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043590)

I've always heard that they've had technology (or something similar) in Japanese phones for years. The Wired story [wired.com] about the iPhone in Japan from two years ago mentioned that traditional Japanese phones had TV tuners as well. A lot of tech that Apple or Android have shown off has been done before, but it was generally a miserable usability experience. Now and Apple and Google are doing it, you can be sure that the user experience is going to be a lot more polished and it's likely that this will finally take off worldwide.

Usability... (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043650)

The Japanese have been using NFC for many years now, yes... but I can't imagine how a technology that you simply hold near something to be read, becomes more usable.

I think it just means the U.S. will finally catch up to Europe in ease of payment, I always feel sorry for cashiers overseas when I have to present my ancient mag-stripe tech for payment instead of even chip & PIN.....

Re:Why all the fuss (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044414)

It's just another way for companies to empty your bank account quickly.

FTFY. Our debt/credit obsessed society has nearly driven everyone into the ground, and many have been ground with the loss of their homes.

Contactless payment is a BAD thing.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043276)

You can get an Android powered Nexus S, which already has an NFC chip...

A dollop of reality will do... (1)

ttimes (534696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043348)

Uhm, a RUMORS site implies something about a job posting at Apple and this becomes 'Apple hints'? Does anybody question what they read anymore? Also, the kind of payment system they are imagining being worked on isn't even mentioned! "What is the air speed of an unladen swallow?" Got whisked away- thought so.

Already used exist in the East (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043384)

Isn't this sort of payment system widely used in more advanced countries like Japan (a.k.a Grorios Nippon)???

Is this similar to the Japanese system? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043424)

Most Japanese cell phones have included e-money features for several years now. (I first saw someone use it at a convenience store in October 2006 in Kyoto.) Is this a similar technology, or something completely new?

Remove comments from this RSS feed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043460)

Is there a way to remove the comments from the Slashdot RSS feed? Takes up a lot of time scrolling past all of them to get to the next news item in Reader. The ads are fine just the comments are annoying!

Taxation Without Representation (2)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043466)

"Service" charges on electronic cash transactions to me are little more than taxation without representation. The only choice one can make is who skims your money. If these services are to be a replacement for legal tender, what charter protects them as legal tender transactions? At what point does this bypass democracy? (Thinking of Wikileaks donation issue, among others).

Re:Taxation Without Representation (2)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043858)

Your dollar bill is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Not all sales, all debts.

Handling cash isn't free, either. My local economists note that handling pennies alone costs the US economy half a billion dollars a year (they're kind of bulky obnoxious coins that you need to keep around to give as change, but no one will come back with them to replenish your stock). And if you have a big enough business that you need large numbers of bills and coins you're not just dealing with a bank; you're possibly looking at an armored car. Is that expense "taxation without representation" to you, too?

Re:Taxation Without Representation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35044272)

Your dollar bill is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Not all sales, all debts.

So, why can't I pay my rent with dollars? Isn't that a debt?

Re:Taxation Without Representation (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044348)

That depends on how it's set up. I paid my rent at the beginning of the month for the time I was about to spend in the apartment. They didn't render the service before the money was paid, so it wasn't a debt.

If you pay at the end of the month, your contract might stipulate that you can't use cash. Ultimately, you still can repay your debt with cash, but they could probably also have you evicted for violating the terms of your rental agreement.

Re:Taxation Without Representation (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044416)

All he's really saying is wouldn't it be nice if the government would issue something besides these 23 ton stone carvings as currency? We're tired of having to hire movers just to pay the gas bill! Something a bit more convenient for modern use like an electronic system perhaps?

Your dollar bill is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Not all sales, all debts.

And that is relevant how? That just means that I don't HAVE to accept cash for a sale. (mostly based on the fact that I am free to decline to sell at all if I like). It has no relevance to the question of government backed legal tender in electronic form for those who choose to accept it (or who are owed a debt).

Re:Taxation Without Representation (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043880)

Your question has been a big elephant in the room for a while, and extends well beyond just electronic payment. For example, consider how many people are forced to pay a 3% or more "payroll tax" to a check casher. It's the usual economic perversity that it only affects people who don't have much money to begin with. When you 'graduate' up from that, it's a choice of which financial institution you would like to let skim some money off of you as service charges. They cost you less than the check casher because they use your money as their own until you spend it.

Honestly, I had hoped in the recent crisis that Obama would live up to some of the Republican hype and nationalize the banks. We need a proper financial system including electronic cash, not a bunch of scrip from private entities hell-bent on transferring all wealth into their own pockets without regard for the consequences.

Re:Taxation Without Representation (4, Informative)

Hebbinator (1001954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043900)

I also think they should give out free puppies because one if by day, two if by night! Or Four Score and Seven Years Ago or something.

Co-opting historically patriotic catchphrases does not prove your point, it only underlines your lack of understanding about free economy and government. The fact that you dont like paying surcharges does not make this a constitutional matter.

Paypal is a value-added service (many would argue against this, though), and it costs money to run it. If you dont like it, mail a check, or fly over to sweden or wherever wikileaks is now and pay them cash. By the way, checks cost you money. As do plane tickets. And ATM charges.

Re:Taxation Without Representation (0)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044462)

It's a little more than just not liking paying a surcharge. You cannot be unaware of Visa dropping Wikileaks (but not the KKK!) and surely you're aware of the MANY capricious actions of Paypal that are just barely this side of legal.

There are many good reasons a person might prefer not to do business with any bank these days, they did, after all plunge us into a global recession and then pretty much stick us with bailing their sorry asses out. It's not at all radical to think the government should issue an electronic currency for the same reasons it issues a currency at all combined with the reasons a national post is a good idea.

Re:Taxation Without Representation (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044600)

My reply to the comments:

A business has to bear its own cost of doing its own business, ie maintaining its cash reserves, by deposit envelope, or armoured car. That is the business' own problem, not society's.

That is different than a person who has a requirement in today's society to transact in cash to service their daily needs. It is the profiteering off these daily monetary transactions by these "meta businesses" that are vampiric and it then becomes political. The surcharges are essentially unavoidable.

There is very little cost to provide the "service", shown by the billions in annual profits by those e-cash corporations. They have inserted themselves between the issuer of the financial instrument (the government) and the end user of the instrument (the citizen) and impose a surcharge, which in effect is a "tax" on cash. (For the service. Not to be confused with interest, which is a whole other bookeeping scam, since as we all should know the money didn't exist in the first place: the initial balance is created from naught and then balanced by writing it off at the end of the loan.. )

The collectors of this "tax" have no obligations to those they are collecting from, and instead have shown themselves to be dictatorial. At the point an institution attempts to control society or limit access to government issued privaleges, it is no longer a "business", it is attempting to act with "governance".

If corporations can give to government [csmonitor.com] , but people can't give to corporations [google.ca] , the issue of financial instruments has become fundamental to your democracy.

As far as old catchphrases go, how about "you suck", you ignorant hellbent moron.

Steve Jobs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043480)

First Steve Jobs invents the computer. Then he invents the GUI. Then he invents the MP3 player. Then he invent the cell phone. Then he invents the tablet computer. Now he invents NFC. The man is single-handedly inventing everything!

cost? (4, Interesting)

green1 (322787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043488)

My carrier recently rolled out a phone based payment system, I was asked to be part of the trial. I declined.

They want me to spend $1.50 per transaction to use it. I can use my debit card for free, I can use cash for free, and my visa card actually pays me to use it, why on earth would I want to give my carrier $1.50 for each transaction? I don't pay bank fees, they already get the privilege of using my money while it's in their care, I refuse to pay money to get access to it.

Re:cost? (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044056)

Using a credit or debit card actually costs a similar amount of money. The cost is just hidden from you because the vendor normally pays the fee. Running a money distribution system costs money. Either you are paying for it directly or they are finding ways to make you pay for it indirectly.

Re:cost? (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044418)

If the cost to me of using cash is the same as using debit, then the debit card is essentially "free", my visa card gives me cash back on purchases, so it is in effect cheaper for me to use than cash. the hidden costs are irrelevant if there is no way to avoid them. Paying an extra $1.50 per transaction is significantly more expensive than cash, and can easily be avoided by using cash/debit/credit, so why would I pay it?

That's a big ass wallet. (1)

n_djinn (1883738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043546)

I enjoy my iPad as a useful tool for a variety of things, hauling it around to use a payment method, I don't think so. Subjectively I can't think of a time I would be using my iPad while shopping (I tried using it for a shopping list medium and it just does not work for that). My iPhone, maybe, but thats just one more issue to contend with for it being lost or stolen. It could work of others that live a more metro life then me.

Apple as a bank (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043606)

"Near-field" isn't the issue. It's that Apple wants to be a payment processor, handling payments through iTunes and skimming off part of the transaction.

We need a crackdown on payment systems run by non-banks. PayPal is generally agreed to be terrible at handling problems and acts irresponsibly with the money of others. Most of PayPal's competitors are worse. Payment systems need to be run only by companies subject to regulation as banks.

Re:Apple as a bank (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043768)

Cause banks have a long history of honesty and stability!

Re:Apple as a bank (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043886)

Cause banks have a long history of honesty and stability!

By comparison with organizations handling payments that aren't banks? Yes. Alas.

Re:Apple as a bank (0)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043894)

At least banks are subject to regulations which limit how badly they can screw the customer. Paypal can and does simply confiscate all of the money in an account with no higher authority for the user to appeal to.

Apple going into the payment processing market would be OK if they had to abide by the same rules as Mastercard, Visa, and the like have to. I'm sure their lawyers will structure it so they do not have to; if there is one thing Apple hates it is not being in complete and total control of their systems.

Re:Apple as a bank (0)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044238)

At least banks are subject to regulations which limit how badly they can screw the customer. Paypal can and does simply confiscate all of the money in an account with no higher authority for the user to appeal to.

Regulations?! More government interference! What's Slashdot coming to. The free market will solve everything, it always produces something better

Evolution of the driveby attack (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35043904)

You know what's going to happen. Attackers don't even need to hack the OS. They just need to convince hapless users that their phone has x number of viruses and click here to fix the problem. IOS5 + near field payment + attackers = profit

NFC is standard feature for 2011 smartphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35043968)

Why this is "news" when it's associated with a rumored Apple product? There are phones that have been shipping for a good while with NFC chips now, and that hasn't generated buzz of even remotely comparable scale. Is it once again so that a feature becomes newsworthy only when Apple adds or *might* add it to their products?

Re:NFC is standard feature for 2011 smartphones (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044738)

Because the phones that currently include NFC are either only available in Japan or form a tiny portion of the market, and you can't actually use it for much anyway?

Apple including it in the new iPhone would mean that there would be tens of millions of the things around, and Apple isn't known for including features in their devices that you can't use.

What The Hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35044030)

Who in their right mind pays to pay someone? You've gotta be a little derp.

Digital pocket picking (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044352)

I can't wait. Any engineer can probably buy the development kit for the retail side of this, hack it, and walk around creating fake transactions off any phone that has this. Wonderful! Never have to do honest work again! Of course, you'd have to have mules etc to cover the backtrail. One thing about digital money -- someone has to "collect" the value some way, and that's just about always easy to trace. So you need some fall guys, because some will be caught.

10" wallet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35044372)

Umm, iphone I could see, but ipad? I'd laugh harder at the guy at the dinner table who pulls out a 10" tablet device to pay than I would at a guy who rides a segway.

OT: Incorrect use of "near-field" (2)

iliketrash (624051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35044720)

OK, this is going to a bit of a rant. As an electrical engineer, I object to the use of "near-field" to describe this nascent technology. To an antenna engineer, near-field means something very specific, relating to the size of the antenna and the wavelength of the waves with which it operates, and generally describing other aspects of the situation as amount of wavefront curvature and the phase relationships between certain fields.

But I will concede the argument because I have lost every other attempt to avoid the subversion of technical terms by non-technical people.

Any communication engineer knows the difference between bandwidth, channel capacity, and data rate and their relationship to signal-to-noise ratio. Yet the "technical" press has conflated these concepts into one, or rather, use "bandwidth" to mean usually either channel capacity or instantaneous data rate. I once attempted to repair the Wikipedia page on Bandwidth by allowing that there are two definitions, one of which is the "new-age" version and one of which recognizes the work of Claude Shannon; my edits were quickly reversed to include only the "new-age" definition, or, as the other editors called it, the "computer science" version.

In the early 1980s, I wrote a letter to each of the three popular audio magazines of the day begging them to stop using "software" to refer to the information stored on Compact Discs which is properly called "data" or "information" or the like. I included dictionary definitions to bolster my argument. I received a polite reply from two of the three editors saying that they agreed with me but that it was too late--that train had already sailed. Oddly, nowadays that particular misuse has partially been corrected as people have come to realize that software is the stuff that makes their computers operate, while the stuff on CDs (and other media) is frequently referred to as "content."

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