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Will Mobile Wallets Replace Their Traditional Counterparts?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-wallet-is-pretty-mobile-already dept.

The Almighty Buck 194

Cara_Latham writes "Mobile wallets are all the rage. But legitimate questions remain as to whether they will ever truly replace their leathery counterparts. Mobile wallets, which use NFC-based technology to allow customers to make contactless payments at the point of sale, already have begun to make their presence felt. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google launched a digital wallet this past fall. The search giant has agreements with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover to make the Google Wallet available to the card companies' account holders, and there even are some NFC-enabled terminals in use across the U.S. that can accept it, including at many mass transit stations. And mobile wallet ventures are cropping up around the globe, as well. Telecom companies including Vodafone and Telefonica announced this year wallet initiatives in Africa and Latin America. But mobile wallets still face many hurdles before they can gain widespread adoption, experts say, including the rather difficult task of getting consumers to change long-held habits."

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194 comments

What if your phone is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422393)

I might try it if there was a small amount of liability in case of theft (like the amount of cash in your wallet) or if you would not be held responsible (like with credit cards). If the thief gets full access to your accounts until you realize what happened - forget it.

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422407)

Google Wallet on the phone is protected with a PIN, and if you guess it wrong 5 times in a wrong, the Google Wallet data is wiped clean.

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422561)

That doesn't protect against malicious apps. However, this mainly is an Android problem because iOS is immune to malware (it just won't make it past Apple's gatekeepers, and if it does, it can't get out of its cell.)

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422853)

Typical Apple fanboi

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (2, Insightful)

zazenation (1060442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422633)

I have only one word to respond to that ---

Human Engineering

(It's two words actually, but it sounds much more dramatic to say one word...)

How easy would it be to watch Barbie or Kelly type in their PIN number at the gas station, a shoe store or the Clinique counter. Phones are popular theft items to begin with.

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422881)

You don't even need to see the pin digits -- just a general idea of the shape of the pattern combined with the smudges of finger oils left behind is enough to figure out a pin in a couple of tries.

Re:What if your phone is stolen? (2)

masterz (143854) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422833)

What if your wallet is stolen? Same thing. Call your credit card companies and cancel the numbers.

I don't get it. (5, Funny)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422409)

My wallet is already mobile.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422473)

It also doesn't charge either yourself or the merchant a 1 - 5% transaction fee every time you use it.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

Gwala (309968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422735)

Actually it does. Here's how:

- Conversion from cash to bank account balances often carries a small 'change processing fee' with commercial banks. It's not big; but if you are depositing lots of tiny small change, many banks will charge you for the service. (esp. the other way around - getting cash out as coins, for giving change, etc.)
- Loss/theft - it's a lot easier for cash to go missing than it is for electronic payments. (plus costs for security for cash stored on premises)
- Going to the bank and depositing it regularly is going to cost anyway (salary for time spent, fuel, etc.)

I'd say the above equally match or exceed the 1-2.5% most merchant banks will charge for CC processing services. NFC pricing is generally the same amount. The fees charged by merchant banks for CC facilities are actually completely reasonable - there's some other aspects which hurt a bit more (90 clearance windows, chargebacks/fraud, etc); but the fees are perfectly fine.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422803)

But the money from credit card processing goes to credit card companies, and that's wrong. Money lost on the street goes to the beggars and children, and that's right.

So sayeth the hivemind.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422925)

I'd say the above equally match or exceed the 1-2.5% most merchant banks will charge for CC processing services. NFC pricing is generally the same amount.

Except, the things you listed for the price of handling cash are things that take actual resources. Human time being one of them. Nearly zero resources are spent on flipping bits over a network. So why should CC and NFC cost the same as cash?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423015)

Visa insisted i join their "electronic statement". I got it free by mail, now i have to pay $5 a month to get it on my bank's website. Visa doesn't even send me an e-mail notification for that. And i can't go back to a paper statement anymore.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423061)

Visa insisted that did they?

I doubt it. You have little tyo relation to Visa. They certainly didn't issue the card, nor do they run the account. That's your credit card provider (usually your bank) that's at fault. Nothing to do with Visa.

You don't get statements from Visa, you don't have an account with Visa.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423121)

The statement has the visa logo in all visa blue, with a visa card, visa this, visa that, "no cash? pay with PLAN V!". Visa also bundles a little leaflet with "promos for Visa customers" which shows up in two different visa statements i get from different banks.

The name of my bank is in a generic type printed (with the laser printer that prints the rest of the numbers) on the statement.

Now when i log in to my bank's Home Banking site, and go to "last statement" I get a popup window, which comes from the "visa.com.ar" domain.

So maybe they don't issue the card, and don't run the account, or anything. But they certainly are the ones who print the statement AND host the online statement website. So Visa is no "innocent bystander" in this bullshit.

So yeah, let's not blame visa. Let's add AMEX to the bullshit. They also charge extra for even getting the statement (mailed or e-mailed). And with them I do have (well used to, I canceled it) an "account". I didn't get that card from a bank, I got it straight from amex.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Informative)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423003)

"change processing fee" is just fucked up shit. I have a shop here in Argentina and I don't get charged anything to deposit cash.

I work with cash only, because Momma Visa charges 3-6% for debit card and up to 15% for credit card. I sell comic books, these have a fixed 30% markup, so visa gets no money from me. I considered them, but i figured if i go that way it'll just mean that my current cash payers will turn to credit card, and in the end it will be a net loss.

a few months ago some woman walks with her kid and he picks up about $10 in comic books. so i tell her, sorry, we only accept cash. and she starts lecturing me "oh, in civilized countries EVERY business accepts credit cards". so i tell her "look, lady, in civilized countries, Visa doesn't charge you a 40% annual interest". she was too stupid to understand anyway.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Informative)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423057)

Actually it does. Here's how:

- Conversion from cash to bank account balances often carries a small 'change processing fee' with commercial banks. It's not big; but if you are depositing lots of tiny small change, many banks will charge you for the service. (esp. the other way around - getting cash out as coins, for giving change, etc.)

My bank doesn't charge me deposit or withdrawal fees. If yours does, I suggest you change banks.

- Going to the bank and depositing it regularly is going to cost anyway (salary for time spent, fuel, etc.)

If you have one salaried staff person who works 40 hours a week, and even if they spend an hour going to the bank to make a deposit, then it will cost 2.5% of what you pay them. Since turnover has to be greater than the salary of one of your staff members, it costs far less than 2.5% of turnover to take your money to the bank.

- Loss/theft - it's a lot easier for cash to go missing than it is for electronic payments. (plus costs for security for cash stored on premises)

You really think that loss and theft of cash costs even 1% of everything a typical business makes?

I'd say the above equally match or exceed the 1-2.5% most merchant banks will charge for CC processing services. NFC pricing is generally the same amount. The fees charged by merchant banks for CC facilities are actually completely reasonable - there's some other aspects which hurt a bit more (90 clearance windows, chargebacks/fraud, etc); but the fees are perfectly fine.

I have to disagree. 1% of a business's turnover isn't the same thing as 1% of profit. It is a huge amount. There are several IT stores near my place which have done the numbers, and they all have the same policy - if you pay in cash, you get the listed price, if you pay by credit card, you get a credit surcharge equal to the 1-2.5% the bank charges them.

Even if you dismiss me as an armchair critic - you have to assume that actual retailers know what they are doing.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422537)

And, I trust cash a hell of a lot more than either Google, or Verizon.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422669)

And, I trust cash a hell of a lot more than either Google, or Verizon.

An NFC wallet is not a replacement for cash. It is a replacement for credit/debit cards.

Re:I don't get it. (2)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422915)

Yes, but why? What advantage is this supposed to have over a credit card? I really don't get it.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422977)

It's electronic so you can access it anywhere and your device can simply be waved over the payment thing rather than having to be inserted into a machine, and then only let you go after it does the transaction after you entered your PIN. And since everyone has phones it is convenient to transport it everywhere. If you lose it there's a password, so no problem, you just put it on your next device and you're good to go.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422981)

Really? Will my credit card company or bank pay for a new one when the one I have stops working?

When the magnetic strip on my cards stops working, I just call up the company and they mail me a replacement that I receive in a couple of days.

If my bank card is acting up, I go to my bank, and they can issue me a new one immediately. Again...at no additional charge.

Somehow I suspect that the electronics in these mobile wallets is going to run somewhat higher than what could be considered disposable, and free to replace.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423075)

An NFC wallet is not a replacement for cash. It is a replacement for credit/debit cards.

That's not necessarily true. NFC can be used with digital currencies just as easily as it can with credit cards.

How about a pre-loaded card? (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422625)

Instead of a cool "wallet" thing, how about a credit card that I can pre-load with cash so I don't have to carry my other credit cards / debit card in case my physical wallet is stolen?
And so I can feel safer making on-line purchases with non-major sites.
Just so that the most that can ever be stolen is whatever I have pre-loaded.

You know, like Europe has had for years?

Re:How about a pre-loaded card? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422663)

you have been able to get them at walmart (among many other places) for the better part of a decade

Re-loadable? (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422831)

I've seen the Green Dot ones and their fee structure is fucking ridiculous if you want to use it as just a re-loadable card instead of having your pay check deposited to it. Which kind of defeats the idea of "re-loadable".

The best I've found is Western Union's. And even that has a few hoops I have to go through to put cash on it.

Again, Europe has had this tech for years. If I want to lend someone 50 Euro I can do that electronically.

Re:How about a pre-loaded card? (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422685)

You mean like a secured credit card that people with bad credit take out? As why are you worried about a stolen credit card unless you aren't in the US. In the US you are liable for a maximum of $50 and most/all credit card companies will waive that if your card is ever stolen.

Google wallet also allows you to pre paid an electric credit card so you can also do what you want on your phone if you have an NFC equipped android phone.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422651)

I believe they mean "moh-BYE-el", not "MOH-bul". As in the European term for cell phone.

Incidentally (as per usual with cell phones), Japan [wikipedia.org] has had this feature for years. They also can act like the Tokyo equivalent of Metrocards.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422415)

There's your answer. Yes.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422645)

If yes, then definitively not at the current state. How is this different from using CC with RFID chip on it? It's very mobile, doesn't require batteries and is less vulnerable to have information stolen using apps.

Re:Yes. (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422713)

The only benefit to using a phone is that you have to enter a pin to enable the NFC chip so someone can't steal your phone and then start charging to it like they could a credit card.

I'm still not sure about using a phone though, I'd want some type of backup that doesn't rely on a battery. And it more resistant to drop damage.

Re:Yes. (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422821)

There's the benefit of making your phone the target of hackers everywhere. The reason mobile malware hasn't been nearly as successful as PC malware is there hasn't been enough profit motive. Just wait until mobile phones all have wallets that could give thieves access to billions of dollars of credit. You want incentive to create malware? You'll get scads of professionally written free malware.

There's also the convenience benefit of using a cell phone to pay. Instead of all that hard work of getting your card out of your wallet and swiping it, you simply get out your phone, unlock the keypad with your simple code, find the simple wallet app and tap on it, simply wait for it to load and to prompt you for your PIN, then you simply tap your phone on the NFC reader! Simple, no?

Finally, there's the privacy benefit. If you use Google Wallet, now Google can complete their trifecta of intelligence gathering. They'll know what you search for, they'll know where you surfed to research the thing, and now they'll know when you walked into a brick and mortar store and bought it at retail even after all that on-line research. Google will know everything about commerce everywhere. And if you tell them you're opting out, they won't maintain that association with you, just your habits. How much more privacy could you want?

Was that enough benefit for you?

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423077)

The malware part isn't even hard today. There are already applications that can root existing phones. All the malware needs to do, is to use existing exploit to obtain root, then install itself as privileged process. From there it can just grab the data and send it without the owner even know it when that happened. If data is encrypted it can just wait patiently for the owner to unlock the payment.

I wouldn't be surprised if there would be already such malware in the wild.

When enough businesses adapt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422429)

If I can't use it in 99% of places I won't ever bother.

Wait, What? (5, Informative)

wkcole (644783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422433)

Mobile wallets are all the rage

I'm 47 and have never owned a non-mobile wallet. Not sure what the point would be.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422481)

I own a non-mobile wallet, it's called a safe.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422721)

I have a wallet in the cloud. I call it a bank.

Yes, but... (2)

dark grep (766587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422467)

My pessimistic view is 'yes', the 'but' is; but not for me. For the same reason I buy printed books and like to have vinyl LP's and CD's on the shelf. The tactile and visual pleasure of those 'crisp green ones' (in Australia, that $100 bills are green) is something I would not like to give up. Nor would I like to do away with the symbolism of the US$1 bill, or the history of the British pound.

Re:Yes, but... (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422549)

in Australia, that $100 bills are green

... and plastic, like the alternatives :)

Vienna, 1780: No plastic money anymore (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422611)

in Australia, that $100 bills are green

... and plastic, like the alternatives :)

But I thought a similarly named country gave up plastic money over two centuries ago. "It was around 1780, and it was in Vienna, no plastic money anymore ... something something monkey c*nt" -- Falco, "Rock Me Amadeus"

Re:Yes, but... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422623)

Hmm do you get money out over the counter or something? I too like the $100s (I think 10s and 100s are the two most visually pleasing Australian notes), but haven't handled one in many years, since ATMs only give you $50s and $20s :(

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422475)

I honestly don't see how a cellphone is any less loseable or stealable than a plastic card. Now your thumbprint, or even better PIN and entire handprint, that's both secure and hard to lose.

No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422479)

In a word 'no'.

But NFC doesn't hold cash? (4, Interesting)

cstec (521534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422491)

Maybe it's just me, but I've been using cash more and more over the last 15 years or so. Just to restore the basic privacy we all had before OnStar, Google Stalking and street cameras. NFC here is just Google doing what's good for Google, and, well, I just finished switching all my clients to duckduckgo.com, take the hint. Ripping out all the Google Maps stuff next.

Re:But NFC doesn't hold cash? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422723)

It isn't just you. I am more leery of data collection by Google and others than ever... especially since I do have (and enjoy) an Android phone.

But just wait- cash will be destroyed "in the name of safety" or "to stop crime" or whatever save the children excuse is fashionable. Most people won't care about privacy or limiting government (or big business) interference in or spying on personal transactions (or other aspects of their lives).

I expect cash might be outlawed in the USA in my lifetime.

Re:But NFC doesn't hold cash? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422885)

I expect cash might be outlawed in the USA in my lifetime.

Cash is convenient, but given an incentive, organized crime will develop a way of doing anonymous transactions. Probably not Tide [mises.org] , though, that sounds like a story picked up from The Onion.

Re:But NFC doesn't hold cash? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422839)

I not only use cash but prefer to pay in coin. You know, the supposed actual value of the metal in the coins, so you're trading value for value, not some slip of paper.

On "Mobile wallets are all the rage" (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422493)

One thing I learned working with genomes of pathogenic microorganisms is that unless you are virologist studying rabies, you should avoid rage at all cost.

Mark of the Beast? (1, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422501)

And the Beast causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

What an interesting way to give someone a "mark" in their right hand, though most people don't hold their phone to their foreheads. And what a coincidental bunch of stories about Sweden looking into giving up cash.

Re:Mark of the Beast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422727)

Wish I had some mod points right about now.

Re:Mark of the Beast? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423079)

Oh for god's sake.

Everything's the mark of the beast to some people. I lose count of the number of times I've seen this come up over the years, it's ridiculous.

You gotta be joking me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422505)

This will make mobiles the number one priority target by hackers.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422547)

Though the digital wallet may have a legitimate place among purchasing tools, e.g. (low value on-line purchases) it seems ill suited for meatspace. Beyond privacy, security and tracking concerns, how about practicality. I can pay for lunch with cash even during a power failure. With any "solution" that needs an electronic reader, I go hungry.

All 'real' geeks use their computers to balance their checking accounts and manage recipes in the kitchen, right? Sometimes "new and High Tech' is not better!

Look who's walking into the store again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422581)

What's to keep the sales droids from scanning for these mobile wallets as you walk by or in the store, follow you around and log what you pause/look at, then start spitting targeted ads at you? "Wait! Don't leave. You bought this last time, why not try it again. Or maybe this slightly higher margin item since we were able to talk you into something last time!"

I think I'll pass. Just another thing for them to keep track of you with.

My ass hurts (No, literally...) (2)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422601)

My wallet has so many cards in it that it's thick. Add 1.5 mm up again and again, and it's not hard to get something with some thickness. Now, place that under only one side of your butt, and sit on it for a while. Also, I would add, be fit and have very little body fat for cushioning. In no time at all, you'll be uncomfortable.

I've cut back as much as I can, but I travel for business (so that's two cards), have a joint account for household expenses (one card) a credit card for personal use (another card) and a debit card which I use the most (another card). Other things, like a driver's license and health insurance cards...those need to stay. But how I have longed for a solution to move some of those cards out and have them in some other format, so that instead of these rectangles of plastic to represent what is essentially a very short piece of data, I could have it piggyback on a device I already own.

And that's an NFC-endabled smartphone. I get it. I want one.

Re:My ass hurts (No, literally...) (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422697)

My wallet has so many cards in it that it's thick. Add 1.5 mm up again and again, and it's not hard to get something with some thickness. Now, place that under only one side of your butt, and sit on it for a while. Also, I would add, be fit and have very little body fat for cushioning. In no time at all, you'll be uncomfortable.

I've cut back as much as I can, but I travel for business (so that's two cards), have a joint account for household expenses (one card) a credit card for personal use (another card) and a debit card which I use the most (another card). Other things, like a driver's license and health insurance cards...those need to stay. But how I have longed for a solution to move some of those cards out and have them in some other format, so that instead of these rectangles of plastic to represent what is essentially a very short piece of data, I could have it piggyback on a device I already own.

And that's an NFC-endabled smartphone. I get it. I want one.

Why don't you just stop putting your phone in your back pocket.

Personally, I switched to a card case and a money clip. No discomfort, classier looking and best of all, people can't call me on a money clip.

Re:My ass hurts (No, literally...) (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422741)

That's why I take my wallet out of my ass pocket when I sit. And I have a fat ass.

Re:My ass hurts (No, literally...) (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422849)

Oh, and that's great... until your sitting there in the restaurant and your battery dies, and suddenly you can't pay for your meal.

No worry you've got a car charger in the car... oh... but you need the nfc phone to get back into the parkade you used... and you realize that even if you got to the car you'd need the phone on to unlock it since you got one of those new digital keys embedded in your smartphone...

So you'll need to call onstar to remote open your car door... except your phone is dead.

Small rectangles and what not have some major advantages... being too reliant on electricity and networks for such basic functions has a downside.

Re:My ass hurts (No, literally...) (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422893)

It's not a huge deal in the US, but keeping your wallet in your backpocket is a nice target for pick-pockets. You might consider moving it to the side pocket. That's what I do, anyway.

Re:My ass hurts (No, literally...) (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422959)

If you continue carrying your wallet in your hip pocket, you risk damaging the sciatic nerve bundle that serves your leg. That creates a condition called sciatica. It's characterized by long term hip and leg pain and/or numbness that really isn't any fun at all. I strongly recommend you move your wallet to your front pocket today, and never again carry it in your hip pocket. Your ass and leg pain won't abate immediately, but over time it might get better. For me, it took a few months after moving the wallet before the pain was mostly gone, but years later I still have occasional pain from it. Certain kinds of chair seats seem to aggravate it.

The wallet in the front pocket isn't so bad once you get used to the new location. As a bonus, it's slightly more secure from pickpockets.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on Slashdot. If you want real medical advice, go see a real medical doctor.

One Day, Maybe (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422643)

Given that EFTPOS and debit cards have, for all their convenience, not yet completely displaced cash, I'd say it'll be a long time off, if it ever happens, and will have to have additional features than what it does now (like be able to store a driver's licence accepted as valid by your government, for instance).

Sure, as soon as... (2)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422673)

As soon as they make it easy to use them for totally anonymous purchases - Which includes the funding side of the wallet as well as the use.

Right now, however, we already have something almost as good - The Visa Gift card. You can buy them with cash, you can use them almost anywhere, you can't ever go over your "limit", and since they have no name associated with them, it makes no sense to ask for ID at the point of sale (though make no mistake, I've had salesdrones ask for it - Who then completely failed to explain what, exactly, they planned to compare my ID against, in the absence of a signature, name, picture, address, or anything else meaningful).

They have only one major flaw, entirely artificially imposed by the US's bizarre hatred of gambling - You can't easily recharge them. You have to pay the "convenience" fee to pick up a new one, with a fixed predetermined limit. Instead of, for example, "buying" your groceries plus a $1000 recharge for $1000 plus the cost of your groceries (paid in cash from my monthly visit to the ATM, of course).

Fix that, and I'd basically give up cash altogether. Make these some sort of "help Uncle Sam track even your cash purchases" deal, and thankyouverymuchbutno.

Re:Sure, as soon as... (4, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422781)

The problem is as soon as you (and those remaining) "give up cash altogether" to use your wonderful non-tracking plastic cards, the government WILL just drop cash.

And then how are you supposed to buy or recharge that "anonymous" plastic gift card? A personal check? A real credit card? An ATM transfer.

Make no mistake- time and time again, the governments have and will "change the terms" of things that were supposed to be limited and/or private. Social Security numbers are a perfect example. Red light cameras turning into speeding and other use cameras are another.

Never, privacy is too important (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422681)

Sharing my shopping habits with the bank is bad enough.

Letting a merchant track my name and CC number from transaction to transaction is worse.

Allowing Google or a phone company full access to my purchase history, and sharing my mobile number and email address with a merchant is just too much.

Folks, this new technology is not for your benefit. They're developing it to keep tabs on you and flood you with more advertising. They're counting on you to comply out of the "cool" factor.

Mobile payments offer something never before seen in retail commerce: a shopper-specific, cross-store primary key. Slashdot nerds should appreciate what a primary key is and what it enables.

I've gone back to all cash. I respect the power of technology too much to let it have any leverage over my shopping.

Credit card companies agreed to this?! (2)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422691)

If I was a credit card company, the last thing I would do is cooperate with NFC. It holds the promise of money moving from bank accounts to retailers smoothly without the banks having to mess with a CC affiliation. Banks could even let you buy things on credit if they wanted.

This has tremendous potential to diversify the electronic purchasing world. Any small bank that can get certified can offer service worldwide. The achilles heel is the NFC protocol that brokers the transaction between the retailer and the bank. Is it too much to ask to have an open standard, instead of a mandatory Google/Verizon/Apple account? The last thing I want is to trade one unnecessary middleman for another.

I like my cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422709)

I try to do business with companies I like. Why should I force the company to pay a transaction fee to the credit card company?

Now, if I have to do business with the Evil Empire, I'd be happy to use a credit card, and American Express at that. But for locally-owned businesses that I want to support, I'll stick to cash, thanks.

Any room for ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422739)

... a condom in that newfangled wallet?

Re:Any room for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422941)

You don't need a condom ... you've already been lubed up by the company.

Count me in (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422783)

I always dreamed of paying expensive fees on every cash transfer I do. Giving a big company the freedom to stop me from using my wallet whenever it's convenient to them and with great benefit of making recording my purchase history easier than ever before makes this truly perfect. Consumers everywhere rejoice for this opportunity to show our devotion to corporate control!

Pay Wave (2)

kamikaze_late2party (1881438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422787)

I get strange looks at the checkout these days when the staff see my credit card with a hole Drilled right through the RFID chip.

When I got my new card it came with this "Pay Wave" feature which they claim is more secure and also convenient (wireless).

EXCEPT that for any EFTPos purchase less than $100 you dont need to enter a PIN.

Basic Security is that you should have a Physical Thing and a secret.

This removes the secret! Hence anyone in possesion of my card can repeatedly buy $100 worth of stuff with my money, and most likely before I have a chance to report it stolen. whereas they are extremely unlikely to guess my pin in 3 attempts before its gets locked out or I report it stolen.

Now I know that the bank has insurance etc and will pay it back. but why need to go through all that hassle when its so easily prevented by existing means.

More seriously... (2)

wkcole (644783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422817)

But legitimate questions remain as to whether they will ever truly replace their leathery counterparts.

Legitimate questions would be much less like "Is water wet?" or "Does the Mayan calendar not actually predict the obliteration of the Earth in 2012?" or "Will Apple and Google and a few million /.ers running Kubuntu drive Microsoft into irrelevance and bankruptcy by 2015?"

The physical wallet is not going away. As long as there are legal purchases for which many people would prefer to have plausible deniability, there will be cash. Until the final merger that yields AppFedGoocrosoft, L. L. C., Our Beloved Planetary Government, (with 51% of voting shares held by Goldman-CitiSachs of America, and the financial equity held mostly by the Bain/Koch Group and the LDS Church Inc.) those of us not standing in line to be rendered into spare parts and raw biodiesel input will need some way to hold a half-dozen competing trackable-money tokens, a dozen merchant "savings club" cards, blank bits of thermal paper that used to be receipts we thought we should keep, and enough paper money for a Big Mac, a USA Today, a pack of smokes, and an hour of high-res porn on the medium du jour.

Re:More seriously... (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | more than 2 years ago | (#39422963)

Depends on what "truly replace" means. Will they, or rather might they partially displace current credit card and debit card usage? Certainly, although that's still up in the air. Might they replace wallets a a convenient storage device and everything they hold? Nope. Not a chance. Now, a Plasma Field Limited Projection Device TM, now THAT is the wallet of the future, my friend.

Isn't Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422823)

Already there, or most of the way there?
Haven't they had NFC/electronic wallets for years? Can someone who has experience with their systems comment?

The real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39422933)

May not be whether the electronic wallet will eventually replace the leather wallet but whether the governments of the world will eventually allow the leather wallet with it's old fashioned cash to survive.

When the FBI publishes a flyer that notes that paying with cash, even for purchases as small as a cup of coffee, is a possible indicator of terrorist activities it won't be long before they outlaw plain cash transactions because they cannot be traced.

Beware connectedness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423013)

The problem is that this will soon allow all transactions to be recorded and traced. Not only is it possible but the government and corporations have all but announced plans to do it. Someone (CIA?) DID recently announce the intent to spy on people through their "smart" household appliances, eventually.

My old-school wallet is already mobile. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423033)

Kinda the point of a wallet. It has several virtues that these new "mobile" wallets don't.

1. The things I have in the wallet are separable.
2. I can put non-digital information in it.
3. I can store untraceable currency in it.
4. It doesn't use batteries.
5. It is completely non-volatile.
6. It is completely secured from hacking.
7. I don't have to trust any third party with the contents of my wallet, ever.
8. The importance of 6 and 7 cannot be overstated.

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