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In Canada, a Government-Backed Electronic Currency

timothy posted about a year ago | from the taxes-built-in-to-this-one dept.

The Almighty Buck 248

An anonymous reader writes "Secure chips have already made it into our credit and debit cards. Next up, they could replace pocket change.The Royal Canadian Mint has been pushing forward with its "MintChip" prototype, a digital cash replacement aimed at transactions under $10, since it surfaced a year ago. The Crown corporation is factoring in developer feedback, hiring a product manager and consulting with the financial sector."

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Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591545)

My credit card works fine on transactions below $10.

Where exactly is the need for this?

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591613)

Not all merchants will accept credit cards for small transactions due to excessive fees. If more people used cc for these piddling transactions rather than paying out of pocket cash, many more might stop.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591645)

They have too normally via their contracts. If they object and you can report them.

If you want cash, you have to give me a discount greater than my card gives me. I am not here to make your store profitable.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Informative)

rjhubs (929158) | about a year ago | (#43591959)

The contracts also typically require you charge the same price for goods whether it be paid for by cash or credit. The cashback you get from your credit card at least partially comes from the fees the credit card provider charges. Most vendors already have their prices higher to cover the CC transaction costs A better argument might be is that it is a big economic inefficiency in the market to have a 3% transaction cost on purchases. The Canadian government is trying to remove this inefficiency.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591991)

A 3% charge is likely less than the cost of dealing with cash. It must be counted, moved to the bank, change must be brought back to the store and so on. It is also easy lost or stolen.

Lets not pretend CCs offer no value to the store.

Actually most places have made those clauses illegal or such that while they cannot have a free for CC use they can offer a rebate to cash customers.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

barc0001 (173002) | about a year ago | (#43592499)

"while they cannot have a free for CC use they can offer a rebate to cash customers"

I assume you mean a fee, not a free. In any case, that violates the terms and conditions that the merchant agrees to with their CC processor and they can face sanctions, higher fees or even just be dropped by the processor altogether if caught giving cash rebates. Some of the smaller merchants do it anyway and rely on the goodwill of their clientèle not to rat them out. Then some sanctimonious prick who objects to a .04c difference paying by CC on a pack of gum comes along and pitches a fit to the processor and ruins it for everyone. And this is why we can't have nice things.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Informative)

barc0001 (173002) | about a year ago | (#43592105)

Actually ALL of those card benefits you receive come straight out of the merchant's pocket. Airmiles, purchase points and cash back are all being extracted from the merchants in addition to the CC fees which can be as high as 5% or more. There's a reason businesses prefer cash and why Interac is so popular in Canada with merchants as their fees are considerably lower.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592145)

Why do I care about the merchant again?
I am not here to make him money. If I can give him $100 and take $1 back vs giving him $100 and $0 back I know which I will select.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#43592279)

Because costs are passed down to you.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592285)

Not you maybe, but most customers would want their merchants to stay in business. Businesses don't want people like you as a customer.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592291)

Because if every single merchant goes out of buisness, your stupid card wont work for large or small purchases, stupid.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Insightful)

barc0001 (173002) | about a year ago | (#43592311)

" If I can give him $100 and take $1 back vs giving him $100 and $0 back I know which I will select."

Then don't be surprised that the next time you go to the store you're paying $102 for the same amount of goods.... Merchants are there to make money, not run a charity. If the credit card fees and service fees gouge their margin, they'll get it back by passing it all along to us.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

Galestar (1473827) | about a year ago | (#43592321)

It not about what a single individual (you) thinks he can get away with by passing the costs onto another. Its about what removes inefficiencies from the system in general, and avoids the tragedy of the commons that we have now - which is that individuals acting under rational self interest reduce the general welfare of society as a whole.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592411)

Sure and I support that move.

This does not seem to fix that problem at all. Credit cards will still be in use doing their evil.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592333)

You are in that store to make the merchant money. As far they are concerned, you making them money is the sole purpose for you being there in the first place.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#43592371)

Actually you should care more than you want to. These bonuses and rewards are paid for by the merchant BUT guess who is paying the merchant for the rewards? You are! Nothing is free. Most Merchants inflate their prices to cover for these expenses. In the end all you are doing is keeping a marketing infrastructure alive by paying for it. Sure you get air miles or reward dollars but I assure you that you paid more than if you actually used your own money. It's a GIMICK and we are all fooled by it.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592539)

I can't get the money back any other way.
No matter what I do it costs the same so I might as well use the CC.

Classic tragedy of the commons. Only regulation can solve that. The regulation needs to allow different prices for different payment methods.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592541)

A certain amount is paid by the interest you pay. Most cards are between 7 and 14% APR. SO it' not just the merchant being screwed.

The problem I have with digital cash/electronic money is that banks charge me to get cash from my own account when I use an ATM. If the government pushes digital cash, it better not cost me anything to refill my wallet. I refuse to pay a fee to use cash.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592345)

s/credit/debit/

As a Canadian who ran a small business for a long time, we refused debit cards for small transactions as they have a fixed fee (We started at 50 cents but managed to negotiate it down to 15 cents over a few years). Credit cards have no fixed fee, but rather take a percentage (In our case, we started at a horrible 5% and negotiated it down to 1.9% for all but AmEx, which, like many Canadian businesses, we just stopped accepting). I had no problems running a credit card for a $1 purchase, after all, I'm only losing 2 cents. But running a debit card for a $1 purchase hurt terribly.

On the flipside, I would encourage customers to pay cash or debit for large purchases ($1000+) because then my savings would be almost $19.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

gewalker (57809) | about a year ago | (#43591649)

Well, for one thing, it is anonymous by design. Secondly, it is not tied to a bank account, so you could afford to lose this and your bank account would still be safe. Sounds good to me.

Devil is in the details, i.e., not allowing unathorized mods to the balance contained within the card, making sure debits and credits against the card work every time.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43591811)

Well, for one thing, it is anonymous by design.

[citation needed]

According to Wikipedia it passes card IDs around in payment messages, which doesn't look very anonymous to me.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591855)

If you can buy the card with cash, it seems pretty anonymous.
Same as burner phones.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43592315)

"Sounds good to me. Devil is in the details, i.e., not allowing unathorized mods to the balance contained within the card, making sure debits and credits against the card work every time."

The devil is right there. The question is why you don't see him.

If cash is replaced with an "all electronic" economy, you can take that moment and kiss your freedom goodbye. You have just given government and corporations control of ALL your money.

When was the last time they proved they can be trusted? Eh? It has been so long, I don't remember.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (3, Interesting)

LordHatrus (763508) | about a year ago | (#43591651)

My credit card works fine on transactions below $10.

Where exactly is the need for this?

Credit cards companies take a cut out of what merchants later get, and it's normally a percentage, but it is not unusual for there to also be a minimum transaction fee. So, small credit card transactions aren't good for retailers, since the lose an unusually high amount of money to the credit card company. ... in fact, in the states, July 2010's Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act recently legalized businesses setting a "minimum purchase with credit card" of up to $10.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591695)

I am not here to keep a store running profitably. Before that law normal agreements forbade that practice. Now, I just will not shop there.

If you want cash give me a better discount than my card does.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591981)

Their contracts probably forbid it. Credit card transaction fees are a race to the bottom (a sort of prisoner's dilemma). Because the cost of the fees are passed on to all the consumers (regardless of whether you pay cash or not), the only winning move as a consumer is to use your credit card (and get the "rewards"). The rewards, of course, are less than the fees, and the credit card companies bank the rest while you pay a hidden tax.

Because the market cannot correct this itself, this is exactly the thing that requires government intervention.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43592015)

If you want cash give me a better discount than my card does.

The CC companies specifically forbid this practice in the merchant agreement. Merchants cannot charge an additional fee for credit cards, and they cannot offer a discount for cash. Gas stations are normally exempted, and a few other low margin businesses may also be able to negotiate an exemption, but most shops are required to charge the same for cash and CCs, and just absorb the transaction fees as a cost of doing business.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592117)

Then as I cannot avoid the increased markup, my way is still the best.

I am not here to make someone else money.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43592349)

" Merchants cannot charge an additional fee for credit cards, and they cannot offer a discount for cash."

They may not be able to charge a "fee", but they can and do raise their prices to compensate, so it amounts to the same thing.

The only difference is that cash customers end up helping to pay for the credit card transactions.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43592081)

If a store can’t run profitability, then there will be no store, so you won’t be able to shop there.

Or, here is a different way to look at it. CC processors are an oligopoly with interests in keeping CC high, which hurt both the consumer and the shop owner. I tend to be on the free market / liberation side of things, but here is a case where the market is being distorted, and this seems to be a good experiment as breaking this oligopoly. It looks like it has some of the benefits of Bitcoins (being able to circumnavigate the CC processors) without the downside. For myself, Bitcoins lack of – errr - monetary policy (for lack of a better word) is a big downside. (I know that for Bitcoins advocates this is a plus)

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592181)

Oh noes, I shall have to find another store!
Perhaps order something online and have it shipped right to my home or office!

Unless this leads to reduced costs I would not give a damn. If this does not reduce the prices in the store, then it makes no difference to me.

I would be fine with even a tax paid for system to replace credit cards, but I will still use the credit card if I make out the best that way. That the merchant can't instead of won't give a discount for none credit card users does not matter to me.

So you would still need to make those kinds of contracts illegal.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43592183)

I don't think the stores actually want the business of the kinds of people who would raise a stink over not being able to pay for a $2 purchase with a credit card. If those kinds of customers are scared off, so much the better.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592239)

Cool, then I won't make a $200 purchase either.
No problem.

Stores for exactly the reason I listed do want $2 credit card users. They are the same people who make bigger purchases. Short of some rare occasions I don't carry cash. So I am not raising a stink, just walking out since I can't pay.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

lart2150 (724284) | about a year ago | (#43591665)

Credit card processing has fees attached to it. Many smaller shops tend to have a large flat transaction fee and some percent. if you charge $.50 on your credit card it might cost $.11 in fees meaning the merchant only gets $.39 for the $.50 worth of goods from a $.10 transaction fee + 3%. There are some processors out there that only charge a percent as far as I can tell like square.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

romanr (113283) | about a year ago | (#43591843)

If, as a merchant, you're paying $0.10 + 3% per transaction, then you may want to look for a better deal. My wife's bakery doesn't do a huge volume (tho that would be nice), and only pays:
- $0.06 per transaction for debit/interact payments
- 1.6% per transaction for MC/Visa

She will also let someone use plastic to buy a cookie for $0.70 - yes, we loose a few cents on it, but the customer will be back and the next time they do buy more. (Kind of funny, watching someone buy a cookie for a quick snack / sugar rush, walk out the door, take a bite, turn around, come back in and buy a dozen).

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

SoldierII (2785237) | about a year ago | (#43591955)

What kind of setup do you use? I am interested in that kind of low price setup...

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

romanr (113283) | about a year ago | (#43592163)

The provider is Elavon, but we signed up via Costco.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43591901)

Handling cash has a non-zero cost of doing business as well. There's all sorts of ways cash can go missing be it theft by employees or outsiders, or simply having it misplaced. There's bank deposit fees to actually get the money into the bank. There's the problems with ensuring you always have enough change on hand for a purchase. There's the risk of accepting counterfeit bills. There's employee time lost from counting the money to ensure the money in the till matches the amount on the receipts.

agreed - cahs is very costly (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#43592057)

You have to have a cash register, clerk, physical visit to bank, tabulation, possibly armoured service.

Re:agreed - cahs is very costly (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43592259)

Exactly. All you need to process credit cards is an iPhone/Android phone and and adapter from Square [squareup.com] . Flat percentage on all purchases, so you don't have to worry about small purchases getting consumed by transaction charges.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43591671)

Where exactly is the need for this?

In theory it's more peer to peer than a bank card. But the costs will have to paid somehow. The minting of coins used to account for that.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591711)

Ideally this would be a government function paid for by taxes the same way that minting coins was. Then this could replace the credit card system as it currently stands. While in the USA that would never happen because it would be called "Teh Socialisms", Canada might actually be able to get it done.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43591849)

Then this could replace the credit card system as it currently stands.

Probably not. We've already got a replacement for the credit card systems called Interac. It's a direct debit transfer system with way lower fees than the credit card companies.

This would likely go in the niche currently partially occupied by Interac's Flash and e-transfer services, but be even simpler for small transactions.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Alex Pennace (27488) | about a year ago | (#43591987)

Ideally this would be a government function paid for by taxes the same way that minting coins was. Then this could replace the credit card system as it currently stands.

As near as I can tell, minting coins and printing currency is at least self-supporting: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Seigniorage&oldid=539786565#Seigniorage_today [wikipedia.org]

In some cases, national mints report the amount of seigniorage provided to their respective governments; for example, the Royal Canadian Mint reported that in 2006 it generated $C93 million in seigniorage for the Government of Canada.[6] The U.S. government, the largest beneficiary of seignorage, earned approximately $25 billion annually as of 2000.[7] For coinage only, seigniorage accruing to the U.S. Treasury per dollar issued for the fiscal year 2011 was 45 cents.[8]

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592021)

So issue limited edition MintChips, and let the nuts collect those.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591745)

There's a comment in TFA noting that part of the problem is "banking fees and age limits", and also states that instead of the chip adding or deducting money from a bank account the value is actually stored on-chip. This would make it helpful for people too young to have some sort of credit account and also means the merchant doesn't have to be connected to a network to carry out transactions. I don't know what Canada is like but in the UK it is also very common to see signs in shops saying that cards aren't accepted for sales under a certain amount because of the fee that the merchant is charged for card transactions, which rules out cards for exactly the sort of sub-$10 range they're aiming for here.

It'll be interesting to see how they try to prevent people illegitimately adding fake funds to their chips if there is no central management though.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43591783)

Transaction fees. The policy for how this is handled varies from vendor to vendor, and some won't accept transactions below ten dollars at all. More obnoxiously, many put a 25 cent transaction fee on any direct bank debit (Interac) transaction under five dollars, and some will play with variations like 30 cents, or no limit, or something else. Supposedly this balances out the very small flat cost of all Interac transactions, but ultimately it means you're punished for using your card instead of coinage.

Otherwise, however, the debit system is quite successful, and some people can afford to not even have a credit card. If MintChip can genuinely avoid all transaction fees, it'll be the greatest thing since sliced bread for that alone.

Other goals of the system are account anonymity (a government building an anonymous financial system? say what?) and permitting arbitrary peer-to-peer transactions like PayPal... but with no intermediary. Unfortunately they have yet to figure out how to make people RTFA.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591839)

Afford not to have a Credit Card?
A credit card is more advantageous as you have more money. I get 1% back on most purchases and 5% back on some. I always pay it off every payday, so twice a month. So I am taking a loan with a negative interest rate. Why would you not borrow money, if the payoff was less than the loan?

I see by your UID you are new here, but on slashdot it is traditional to not read the article. Advanced users don't even read the summary.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Meyaht (2729603) | about a year ago | (#43591967)

Most people lack your discipline. Credit cards cost these people money. You are part of an incredibly small minority, so try to see the big picture here.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592075)

Most people should learn discipline. They should teach their children early. If you learn young it is easier.

A credit card cannot cost you money, it is not going out buying things while you are at work. It is not failing to make full payments each month. No matter if you are spending cash, debit, using checks or credit cards, you have to know how much you are spending.

This is very simple, watch close!
1. On payday move all money into interest bearing account.
2. Figure out amount you are willing to spend this pay period.
3. spend amount from #2 during the pay period
4. Following payday: Pay off credit card.
5. rinse and repeat
6. at some point, spend all those points

Sure you could end up having to carry a blanace and pay interest if you have low income and high costs some month. Shit happens, but that would happen with the credit card use or not.

TLDR: Spend less money than you make.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#43592037)

I see by your UID that you are new here but on /. no one reads the article although we always criticise others for not doing so :-)

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43591841)

Where exactly is the need for this?

Well, the govt wants to finally close the tax hole on cash transactions.

No more will you be able to do casual transactions for cash and NOT be collecting taxes for it.

The electronic stuff is much more traceable, I imagine govt types have to reach for a tissue every time they think about getting rid of cash once and for all, and having every transaction fully traceable.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591875)

The article claims this to be an anonymous transfer method.

Also, you can always get foreign currency or gold, or silver, or some standard good. In some prisons canned fish became currency among prisoners because they were not allowed cash and no one wanted to eat the canteen's canned fish. So long as their are goods and services people want to buy without traceability they will find a way.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43591905)

My credit card works fine on transactions below $10.

Where exactly is the need for this?

1. Credit cards do not do peer-to-peer payments. If my neighbor's kid mows my lawn, I cannot transfer $5 from my CC to his. If my daughter sets up a lemonade stand, she cannot accept CC payments.

2. Credit cards do not do anonymous transactions. Plenty (most?) people want to occasionally conduct transactions where neither the buyer nor seller disclose their identity.

3. Transaction fees. Visa and Mastercard charge high fees, and operate a cartel that keeps out competitors.

4. No assurance of payment. Even if the transaction is approved, the seller can still be subjected to a chargeback, and has no assurance of actually receiving the money.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591969)

1. There are lots of way to do exactly that. Paypal for one. There are even swipe attachments for smartphones.

2. It sounds like this card may not crack that nut. Since it sends cardID during the transaction you will have to replace cards frequently and never use them to pay something like a bill that shows who you are.

3. this will have to have some fees. Even if taxes pay them.

4. This is an advantage not a downside. If I get home and my widget is broken and you refuse to replace it I get my money back. Cash has no such property. If I falsely make a chargeback there are dispute resolution methods available.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592277)

For your point 4, the oposite is also true. There are dispute resolution methods if the widget is sold broken and they don't replace it.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (2)

witherstaff (713820) | about a year ago | (#43592509)

I don't think a kid on a lemonade stand can officially accept paypal, isn't it 18 and older? Same with any merchant account which would let a kid mow a lawn or do all the normal things that kids can do for cash.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (0)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43592273)

How exactly can a P2P digital currency be anonymous?

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Striek (1811980) | about a year ago | (#43592011)

MintChip emulates the positives of cash — payments are anonymous and don’t require a bank — but work electronically.

RTFM'ed that for you.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#43592095)

We (Canadians) don't need this at all. All the major banks are rolling out tap-to-pay for their debit cards, which generally have a $50 limit by default. There is literally no point for the Mint to go anywhere near this.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43592197)

But when they screw it up, I can jack up the chip and buy a ton of shit in Canada for fake money! Easier than counterfeit.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592261)

So how do you buy something larger than $50?
You have to change payment methods?

I get charged $0.50 when I use my debit card. So I never use it as debit.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year ago | (#43592437)

I get charged $0.50 when I use my debit card. So I never use it as debit.

I get 10 or 20 "free" debits a month, but never use debit except in emergencies. With debit, your cash is transferred out almost immediately. With credit, it's moved later. In theory, you'd get disputes resolved much easier if the merchant doesn't already have your cash.

Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#43592441)

So how do you buy something larger than $50?

Then you have to insert the same card into a card reader, authenticate with a PIN and then approve the transaction. For smaller payments you can skip all that.

I get charged $0.50 when I use my debit card. So I never use it as debit.

The problem isn't with the concept of debit payments, the problem is that your bank sucks.

http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591551)

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Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (1)

fekmist (2857907) | about a year ago | (#43591615)

Wait do you guys have anything to do with the Mintchip or something? Or does it have something to do with Linux? I'm a bit confused as to what you're asking of us.

Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43591657)

It looks like a linuxgerian scam...

Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591673)

If you're trying to be funny, don't give up your day job; otherwise, you're stupid.

Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592019)

Let me amend my previous statement: If you're trying to be funny, don't give up your day job; otherwise, you're stupid. I also LOVE the cock.

Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591677)

This is a copypasta troll.
He spams this shit in many stories everyday.

Not sure why.

Re:http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591747)

I don't know... However I would like to know if this MintChip will also flash her underage boobs for some space-billions.

mint shit (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43591683)

Let me fast forward this a bit because MintChip was discussed on the bitcoin forums months ago. It's bullshit. It's set up completely wrong. It's horribly insecure. It's like a spy-on-you version of bitcoin. Even the encryption style was massively flawed from what I heard. It's absolute, utter crap.

Re:mint shit (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43591729)

I am so sure the BitCoin folks have no incentive or ideological basis that might taint their view of a workable solution other than their own.

Re:mint shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591785)

To be fair, the implementation looks fairly dodgy:

A MintChip is a secure smart card chip, which may be integrated with a SD card for easier connection to computers and mobile devices. The card contains a private key signed by the mint, which is itself then used to sign transactions. When making a payment, the sender gets the ID of the receiver. The chip decrements the balance stored within it and signs a message stating it has done so and that the recipients ID should increment its balance accordingly, this message is then presented to the recipient's chip which verifies the signatures and adjusts its own balance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MintChip [wikipedia.org]

Re:mint shit (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43592207)

Dude, I can totally hack that and make it output infinite cash.

Re:mint shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591799)

I don't trust anything bitcoin activist have to say.

Re:mint shit (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43591823)

I really don't see how a currency can be digital, decentralized, and anonymous. If that's the case, then whatever amount the card says it has, it has. Sure you can put in all kinds of encryption and digital signatures, but at the end of the day, you're trusting the card. It's like those photocopier or transit pass cards. If they aren't centrally managed, eventually they all get cracked. And the incentive to crack these things will be very high. Even if you have to make 10,000, $10 transactions to make it worth your while, people will still do it.

Re:mint shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592009)

Clearly you've never been to a 'modern' society such as Japan. Anonymously purchased and recharged digital cash cards are the norm.
 

Sounds like the Dutch "ChipKnip" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591703)

Sounds a lot like the now pretty much dead "ChipKnip" scheme we had in the Netherlands. It wasn't practical; it died.

How does the security work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591791)

How does the MintChip prevent double-spending? If the Royal Canadian Mint is signing my private key, does that mean a Mint employee could spend my cash anonymously?

lets stop beating around the bush (2)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43591829)

credit cards have been digital currency for decades, wallstreet doesnt trade in physical bonds or stocks anymore, theives steal credit cards more than cash, and the concept of a 'processing fee' in an era of such ubiquitous computing is absurd. the easiest way to digital currency is to use the system in place and be gone with visa and mastercard endorsed 'debit' cards.

It's called a debit card (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591879)

We already have electronic money, it's called a debit card

Re:It's called a debit card (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43592215)

We already have electronic money, it's called a debit card

And they require a bank account, require the receiver to have a merchant account of some kind, and often have high transaction fees for small payments.

Oh, how they hate real money (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43591887)

Governments really hate actual money, but they can't even stand the thought that 2 parties may transact without government getting a cut.

If you are a farmer, a manufacturer or any other type of worker, government wants to take a cut of every apple you grow, every product you create, every transaction you engage in. Imagine what politicians see in their dreams: cashless society, every transaction, every move, every step, everything you do is taxed, regulated, licensed, documented and filed.

They even want to get rid of the paper they create, so that you couldn't pay some contractor without reporting a transaction, guess what, the more you tighten the grip, the more will slip through your clenched fist. Bitcoin is an interesting experiment, I expect more and more Internet based currencies of all kinds, the kinds that cannot be traced and tracked and documented and filed.

Once entire supply chains can operate in those, all of a sudden you cut out the toll booth in between all of your transactions. I'd rather see it sooner than later but it will happen eventually.

Free Code For Canada (2)

cheatch (1713998) | about a year ago | (#43591909)

Function PrintMoney(Currency money) As Currency
          SendMoneyToCheatch(money)
          PrintMoney = money
End Function

Could this be used to pay off the national debt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591953)

Since there's no physical cost involved to creating virtual currency, and, in particular, purely virtual currency is far easier to remove from circulation as needed (no more than a flick of a switch), to keep excess from flowing back into the Canadian economy, and therefore devaluing our dollar, couldn't this be used as a mechanism to start getting Canada back to where we were, financially, 40 years ago or so, when Canada did not have a national debt at all?

like the mafia, they want their cut and control (3, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43591971)

the end game will be cashless society so banks and the government in their pockets get a piece of any action. If government labels you a "terrorist", your ability to buy, hold money and sell gets instantly revoked. convenient way to make everyone in an area come in for "questioning" just to get their "privileges" back

Re:like the mafia, they want their cut and control (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592301)

Can't happen.
Prisons prove this. They find some good to use as currency.

Re:like the mafia, they want their cut and control (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43592361)

you mean goods that soon will all have embedded rfid in them?

Re:like the mafia, they want their cut and control (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43592391)

So then people will place the item in the microwave for a couple seconds, or use gold, or silver, or shiny rocks or bottle caps.

Re:like the mafia, they want their cut and control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592425)

Since when are all goods going to have embedded RFID chips? Don't tell me you take Info Wars and Prison Planet seriously...

A New Currency? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43591997)

A technique for delivering an already established currency is what I'm reading. Still pretty cool nonetheless.
Commence the subcutaneous microchipping!

MintChips? (1)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about a year ago | (#43592157)

Would the servers that handle transactions run Linux Mint? Okay, I'm sorry; it had to be done sooner or later.

I want "BitCoin" backed by gold or "hard" currency (0)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#43592211)

I want a version of BitCoin that is fully-pre-mined and backed by something I trust, like Au or USD.

Think of 21 million "USD-bitcoins" backed by $21B held by an entity as trustworthy as the US Government. The convenience of e-commerce with the anonymity of cash.

Or, 21 million "Au-bitcoins" backed by 21M troy oz. of gold held by an entity MORE trustworthy than any government.

Or, on a smaller scale for less-weathy "backers," $21M or even $21,000 or 21 thousand or 21 troy ounces of gold. The "$21,000" version might be done by a local chamber of commerce or local bank as the modern-day version of the "wooden nickle" as a "local currency."

just copy Hong Kong or Japan (5, Informative)

Mox Factor (2911587) | about a year ago | (#43592323)

we have the Octopus card in Hong Kong which works for convenience stores, subway and other transportation fees, and some retailers like Starbucks or our local supermarkets. it can only be topped up to 500HKD($64.43USD) at any convenience store or subway station and is anonymous. it uses an RFID chip, so it doesn't need swiping, just place close to the machine will charge the card. same goes for Japan's Suica card, which was only for Tokyo before but has just gone national. having an electronic currency card is wonderful, instead of having to pocket so much change for those times u need to use the payphone or pay for a one time bus ticket or buy something from a vending machine. and it's not attached to my credit or debit card, so i can hand it to a relative or friend when they visit me in Hong Kong, or i can buy a Suica card in Japan and use it just for the duration of the trip without worrying about daily exchange rates.

Re:just copy Hong Kong or Japan (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year ago | (#43592529)

we have the Octopus card in Hong Kong which works for convenience stores, subway and other transportation fees, and some retailers like Starbucks or our local supermarkets. it can only be topped up to 500HKD($64.43USD) at any convenience store or subway station and is anonymous.

While the card itself isn't linked to you by name and so can be passed around, wouldn't paying for the top-up require credit card or some other electronic funds transfer which could be linked to you (or someone close to you if they're topping it up)?

I suppose you could withdraw $500HKD in actual cash, then use that to pay for the top-up, but that kind of defeats the purpose of these cards...

I was part of the original MintChip challenge (4, Informative)

kruhft (323362) | about a year ago | (#43592379)

After trying to get them to support Linux and even offering to do the development to get it to work with Linux they informed me that the hardware requires a binary blob and that Linux would never be supported.

Some other developer also found an easy way to pull money off the chip without permission using a bit javascript and I wasn't too impressed with the design and security.

There's a hard limit (1000?) transactions per chip so once you go over you need a new chip. I found that quite odd but maybe that's the limit to the amount of transactions this "anonymous" cash system can hold.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43592423)

Europe (at least the German speaking countries, don't know about others) have had that since the last Millennium: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geldkarte Furthermore, there's a replacement that is contactless (can't remember the name though).

Paperless Economy = Paperless Voting (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43592497)

He who controls the databases, controls everything .

Just another debit card (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#43592519)

âoeToday, people obviously use coins. They use bits of metal and bits of paper. "

Really? I doubt it. I for one hardly ever even carry cash. I always just use my debit card.

I honestly dont see the difference between this and a debit card as this system still uses a "broker" in the middle that knows the value of your account. other than this is more limited in its use (to $10).

Only If they came up with a way to eliminate the need for an account with the man in the middle then it would be a replacement for cash.

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