Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones The Almighty Buck United States

Bickering Blocks US Mobile Phone Payments 267

Posted by timothy
from the they're-not-insisting-on-picking-up-the-tab-either dept.
theodp writes "Imagine a technology that lets you pay for products just by waving your cellphone over a reader. You wouldn't have to if you lived in Japan, where people have been using it for the last five years to pay for everything from train tickets to groceries to candy in vending machines. While nearly everyone who's tried it has liked this form of payment, consumers in the United States won't be able to wave-and-pay anytime soon: The companies that must work together to give the technology to the masses can't agree on how to split the resulting revenue."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bickering Blocks US Mobile Phone Payments

Comments Filter:
  • I've used the Oyster cards mentioned and they are pretty neat. They can store up to £90 of credit, which can be used to pay as you go, plus your Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass. You can use them on any bus, Tube, trams, DLR, London Overground and some National Rail services in London.
    • Re:Oyster cards! (Score:5, Informative)

      by kvezach (1199717) on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:04AM (#26606277)
      They can also be hacked [zdnet.co.uk], which is also pretty neat if you're the hacker, but not if you're trying to build an infrastructure based on the cards.

      Come to think of it, Chaum's electronic money (digital cash), especially the off-line anonymous variants, would be very well suited to the kind of mobile payments discussed in the article; and such a solution would preserve all the important properties of "ordinary" cash.
      • Re:Oyster cards! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:53AM (#26606623) Homepage Journal
        I for one, am not anxious to see yet another way to conveniently spend money come to the US.

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

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

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

        • Re:Oyster cards! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:17AM (#26606831) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

          • Re:Oyster cards! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:37AM (#26607047) Journal

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

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

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

            • by deraj123 (1225722)

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

              How could you expect anything else? The ATM provides a service. In exchange for providing you with that service, the machine operator charges a fee. Amazingly enough, there are multiple operators out there. Most people have an agreement with one operator (their bank) to use their ATMs free of charge. Use a service provided by someone that you don't have a prior agreement with, and expect to be charged.

            • Payment to use ATMs? In the UK you can use any banks card with any ATM free, and the only ones that charge to withdraw trend to be standalone ones in small shops/bars/clubs, and it is always prominently displayed that it will charge.
              • by ncc74656 (45571) *

                Payment to use ATMs?

                Here in the States, if you use another bank's ATM, both your bank and the other bank will usually add fees totaling $3-$5 to the transaction. They started doing this sometime in the early-to-mid '90s. The workaround when you're traveling outside your bank's ATM-coverage area is to get cash back with your purchases: go to Wal-Mart (or whatever) to pick up the razor and shaving cream you forgot to bring with you on your trip, and get $40 (or however much you want, usually up to $100) wit

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "Let's consider the ticket system used by JR and Tokyo metro. Millions of people passing through those gates per hour across Tokyo, and there's someone out fixing the ticket-eating mechanical parts quite regularly."

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

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

            • by xaxa (988988)

              I think handling cash costs all businesses money, it's just that for public transport their "product" is low-value, and thus very likely to be entirely cash unless they get passengers to use something else.

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

              Spending on a card, I can see all that, either when my statement comes or online (or at an ATM). I can also see it for the last X years. If I have cash I end up thinking "where did that £20 go?" and trying to remember what I bought.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by cayenne8 (626475)
                "Spending on a card, I can see all that, either when my statement comes or online (or at an ATM). I can also see it for the last X years. If I have cash I end up thinking "where did that £20 go?" and trying to remember what I bought."

                Well, the statement thing IS nice to have a record of all your expenditures, I'll grant that.

                However, I rarely ever think of, or find the time to log on and go through that. Maybe once a month maybe I log on, when it is time to pay bills. I don't write many checks any

          • by Anonymous Coward

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

            The problem is overloading functions on one device / card.

            If I lose my mobile now, it's going to painful and annoying to get it replaced. If I lose it and it has cash deposited on it, then it's just more of a loss.

            If I'm being mugged (or pick pocketed), then all I'm askied for now is my wallet. I don't want to have to lose my mobile as well (which I could otherwise use to call for help, a taxi, or the police).

            It's the same idea with having driver's licenses or other cards that can hold monetary value (which

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by badasscat (563442)

              If I lose my mobile now, it's going to painful and annoying to get it replaced. If I lose it and it has cash deposited on it, then it's just more of a loss.

              The money isn't tied to the phone, it's tied to an account to which the phone is tied. Big difference. The account goes nowhere if the phone is lost.

              It's really no different than if you lost your phone now - would your phone bills suddenly stop coming? No, obviously your account is separate from your phone. Your bills will keep coming until you tell

        • by N1AK (864906)
          And what value exactly does a green piece of paper have? Why not go the whole hog and ban currency, people might not spend so wastefully if they could see the real cost of what they are spending (2 eggs for the morning newspaper, a few grams of gold for the electricity etc).

          I and others who shop for entertainment media (DVD, CDs and games) online using 'plastic' and get things a damn site cheaper than people who go into stores and pay with physical currency. I and others who use an Oyster card (prepay t
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ihmhi (1206036)

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

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

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

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "I and others who use an Oyster card (prepay travel card) get London Underground travel far cheaper than those who pay with cash."

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

            I've only ever had to once live for awhile that had a toll bridge I had to take. Rather than get a discount, and get one of those RFID speed pass things....I'd just pay cas

            • by xaxa (988988)

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

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

              Most people will take paying £1.60 and being tracked instead of paying £4 [tfl.gov.uk] and remaining anonymous.

              I've only ever had to once live for awhile that had a toll bridge I had to take. Rather than get a discount, and get one of those RFID speed pass things....I'd just pay cash to go across. I like to live as untraceable an existance as possible within reason.

              Maybe you should swap that car (with its attached license plate) for a bike. As a bonus, the bridge is probably free by bicycle.

              (Are there CCTV cameras by the toll booths?)

            • by N1AK (864906)

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

              You're correct that lack of privacy is a downside of using a payment method that must be topped up from a bank account and linked to the address that bank account is registered to. I respect and have no issue with your view of this matter. There are in fact other downsides to the Oyster system in addit

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Syberz (1170343)

          That's right, why shouldn't we have a neat and practical new means of making transactions because some people are consumer whores? That's a bullcrap way of thinking, besides, it's no different than a credit card (which are already maxed out for these people anyways).

          A new method of payment will not make a difference to those who can't control their spending.

          By your line of thought we should also ban guns, I mean, Cheyney wouldn't have shot his friend in the ass if guns weren't available, right? Why don't we

        • Re:Oyster cards! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rickb928 (945187) on Monday January 26, 2009 @12:06PM (#26607969) Homepage Journal

          Interesting. Truthfully, though, we are well on our way here in America to letting people avoid the consequences of bad decisions:

          - Much talk about 'forgiving' the excess amount on mortgages, that is writing them down to the home's current value. Among the problems with this; The U.S. taxpayer gets to pay the difference, but doesn't get anything much. The homeowner gets out of a bad deal. The bank gets made whole. Whose error caused this? Unscrupulous lenders? Overly optimistic borrowers? Greedy banks? Investors thinking they got in on a 'sure thing' without understanding the risks and/or falsehoods involved? All of them. Quick question - why am *I*, as a taxpayer, paying for this? Oh, and paying my mortgage as well, thank you.

          - People get overextended on credit pretty regularly. This is not new, so why not extend this caution to current payment methods? Oh, that would mean the U.S. economy would have to retract by the amount of 'credit/fake' income we spend on our cards etc. Some estimates are that we have been overspending in the U.S. by up to 6% a year for a decade. The bill is due.

          - The objection that cell phone payments will encourage people to 'spend more' is probably true. So let's ban some advertising, pop-up/pop-under ads, etc. Sheesh.

          Really.

        • by AndersOSU (873247)

          Maybe last year.

          Today the problem is the paradox of thrift. Banks are finding it necessary to be thrifty, consumers are being thrifty out of fear, and that all drives the current economic downward spiral. Sure, over leveraging is more than a little to blame for the mess, but now that we're in it, the best way out is through spending.

          The trick is, once we're again on stable financial ground to spend and borrow the right amount of money. The ability to spend and borrow is, in itself, not inherently bad.

          P.S

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "P.S. are you from French Guiana, or a fan of the decidedly luxurious and unthrifty porsche?"

            Cayenne == a variety of chile pepper long before it was an Porsche suv.

            :)

            That being said, I've never owned, nor do I want a suv. I have never owned a car with more that two seats, with the exception of a Porsche 911 turbo, and that doesn't really count since a grown adult really can't ride in the back at all even sitting across both rear 'seats'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xaxa (988988)

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

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

    • Cash! (Score:5, Funny)

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

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

      Cash. Is. King.

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

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

        Not to mention maximum carry limits for cash, and being mugged.
        • by pjt33 (739471)

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

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by scotts13 (1371443)
          Hah! I recall an incident maybe 15 years ago when a customer called to delay picking up a computer system: "It'll take me a couple of days to transfer the funds to an account I can write a check from." I suggested he simply with draw the money in cash, and hand it to me. He was amazed! "I never considered you might accept cash." And I've paid for more than one new car with cash.
          • by martyros (588782)
            Aren't you legally required to accept cash? I.e., "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"?
        • by ivan256 (17499)

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

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

          • Re:Cash! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Vancorps (746090) on Monday January 26, 2009 @12:27PM (#26608265)

            Except that you have to file an IRS form to carry any amount of cash over $10k.

            Also when carrying even that much cash it really sucks to get mugged as you simply won't be getting that money back as opposed to carrying an insured debit or credit card.

            For large purchases there's no reason wire transfers don't work which is how most people conduct large transactions these days anyways. Between wire and checks you've got what you need for large purchases so its all about the smaller purchases. Should you be able to buy a TV with your cell phone? I wouldn't trust the current phone companies to add up the bill reliably as they can even bill reliably for what they currently provide. That just means it's more of a hassle instead of less when compared to a credit card that is.

        • by sjames (1099)

          I would expect buyer and seller would happily put up with the counting in exchange for the certainty of the transaction. No checks coming back a month later, banks holding the funds 'just because we can', nobody wanting to clip 10% off the top, etc.

          Cash has it's disadvantages as well, but it's really underrated.

      • by jank1887 (815982)
        No devices or readers are needed

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016)

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

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

        I have seen tons of restrictions on cash. none legal and all put in place by some really stupid and uneducated managers or store owners, but there are certainl

        • Re:Cash! (Score:5, Informative)

          by xaxa (988988) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:21AM (#26606881)

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

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

        • Re:Cash! (Score:4, Informative)

          by ZombieWomble (893157) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:33AM (#26607015)
          These restrictions on cash are quite often legal - "Legal Tender" by definition is by definition only required to be accepted for debts. Until a transaction has taken place in a store, no debt is owed.

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xaxa (988988)

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

        On ticket barriers at stations, RFID cards are much more reliable than paper tickets (especially paper ticke

      • I've used cold hard cash

        It has some drawbacks as well:

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

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

        • by timeOday (582209)
          "It's not waterproof"

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

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

        • I've used cold hard cash

          It has some drawbacks as well:

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

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

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

          • by dkf (304284)

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

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

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

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        I love it too! Another advantage is that if you carry more than US$1000 in any pocket, it's always convenient to find it! No "where's my wallet?" "where's the card?". If you put the cash in a front pocket some ladies will find it even more appealing! ;)
  • Micropayments. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the cleaner (1641)

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

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

  • And I bet patents are blocking other companies from working together on it.
  • Maybe it's just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter Simpson (112887) on Monday January 26, 2009 @08:56AM (#26606235)

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

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

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

    • Swiping credit cards just doesn't have the coolness factor of the Japanese wax-on-wax-off payment method.
      • by novakyu (636495)

        Some of them (i.e. AmEx) come with an RFID chip which lets you just wave the card, rather than swiping it through a reader.

        I personally put a nail through the chip on my AmEx card and wouldn't carry a cell phone that doubled as a payment methods, unless somehow it could be assured that no one but the intended reader could get the info off of these devices (through encryption and challenge-response, maybe, but that seems unlikely to happen ...).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837)
      I bet you don't have a clock built into your sliced bread either.
      • I bet you don't have a clock built into your sliced bread either.

        I'm still waiting for someone to show me the true benefits of this so-called "sliced bread".
        • Benefits of Sliced Bread.
          1. Time Saving. Before Sliced Bread the concept of a sandwich was a far more laborious job. A Soft bread was very difficult to cut, unless you have a very sharp knife. While the time of cutting bread is rather small for the one person sandwich. But for families of 3 or greater you need to cut sandwiches*2 times. And having kids you need to leave now with their lunches that time gets very hard.

          2. More uniform nutrition. Unsliced bread could be a variant amounts either too think or to

      • by Mikkeles (698461)

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

    • by xaxa (988988)

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

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

      Combining the devices means I only have to carry one thing, and charge one. If I want to take photos -- if I'm visiting somewhere -- I'll also take my camera, but the not-as-good camera on the phone is useful for the res

      • GP has a certain "you kids get off my lawn" charm, but also a valid point. Until it gets to the point where my cell phone can act as my ID, medical insurance card, library card, Barnes and Noble Club membership card, video rental place card, AND my credit card I'm not likely to get rid of my wallet. How is this really saving me much time or energy? I can't really carry less stuff (in the short term, I'll probably still need to carry the actual cards, since not everyone is instantly going to get readers f

    • by rolfwind (528248)

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

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

      Now, how many cell phones do you carry?

      What would really make me want it is if it has digital receipts. Paper reciepts now pad my wallet, need to be scanned (or inputted in) to some stupid software, and m

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

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

      Moreover, I think paying by mobile phone does not require the person payed to to actually check you bala

      • by Nursie (632944)

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

        • by xaxa (988988)

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

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

      • by drsmithy (35869)

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

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

    • by jank1887 (815982)
      they can't beam coupons to your credit card.
    • Children have mobile phones before having credit cards.

      Phones linked to their parents' accounts.

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

    • by Nursie (632944)

      You must have huge pockets.

      Device convergence is a winning strategy.

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

      Camera - who cares if you get better quality out of your point and shoot? Not many people carry a point and shoot. It's ab

    • by jrumney (197329)

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lumpy (12016)

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

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

      BRB, I need to twitter this!

    • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gn u . org> on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:20AM (#26606875) Homepage

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

      Then I might interest you with a toaster running BSD.

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

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

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

  • by stokessd (89903) on Monday January 26, 2009 @08:57AM (#26606243) Homepage

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

    Sheldon

    • Bravo! Reliable coverage IS something I'd be willing to pay for!
    • by sjames (1099)

      Agreed. The number one missing feature on cellphones is the ability to make and receive phone calls reliably.

      Calling plans that don't include the phrase "please grab your ankles" in the fine print would be a nice addition as well.

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

    I think it's because we're all too conscious of our phone bills and don't want things like coke and such messing them up and making us think we've blabbed our mouth off too much. Or maybe it's because only certain cell phone carriers were in on the deal, thus leaving half of us without the option.
  • by Shivinski (1053538) on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:08AM (#26606303) Homepage
    ...We have a similar system. You pay to wave...
  • My bank card never runs out of battery, which is quite nice.
    Also, I get it for free from the bank.

  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:11AM (#26606325)

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

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

      Um... How do you get everyone in the crowded room to enter their PIN and authorize the "charge"?
      • by drsmithy (35869)

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

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

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

        Finally, those things can some

  • Candy?! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dvh.tosomja (1235032)

    >> candy in vending machines

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

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

  • Although I'm a staunch believer in free markets, for basic infrastructure like payment systems perhaps a guiding role by the government wouldn't be a bad idea, just like they have a role with regular old currency.
  • by AncientPC (951874) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:24AM (#26606923)

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

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday January 26, 2009 @10:31AM (#26606997)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      These phones are available in Europe in all kinds and shapes. Mostly in prepaid packages for 10-20 euros, but also without a sim lock for about 50. Didn't have a phone with a camera yet. I guess there is a substantial market for it and the manufacturers recognize it.
  • by SupremoMan (912191) on Monday January 26, 2009 @11:14AM (#26607385)
    It would be cool feature, if there were readers for it. As is, I can barely use my card with RFID at 2 local establishments. And at one it does not work properly all the time. Everyone else still has old credit card readers, and they have no incentive to throw away what works.
  • Why do people want to do EVERYTHING with their cell phone? Not trolling, I just don't understand the desire to have a cell phone do everything except wipe your butt for you. I sort of understand the Japanese, since their culture has a special place for gadgets -- but why the expectation that since it was popular there, it should be popular everywhere?

    Besides, with the inability of people to keep track of their phones, do you really want whoever finds / steals your phone to buy a bunch of stuff in addition

  • The US was the first country where credit card verification machines were widely deployed, and that infrastructure seems to satisfy most needs. There's also a tradition that the merchant eats the credit card fees, and law that the bank and merchant are responsible for errors. So from a consumer perspective, it's a good system.

    Redwood City, CA just installed a parking meter system which accepts payment via text messages from cell phones. You can even extend your parking time remotely. But there's a $0

  • This means I'd have to interrupt my important conversation that I'm having in line and take the time to swipe my phone. I doubt all the people around me listening want me to be inconsiderate to the other person on the other end.
  • I would probably burn $100 bucks a week on peanuts and cokes at work. Would still like it, though.
  • Simply get one of those Visa (PayWave) or Mastercards (PayPass) cards and tape it to your cell phone. Geesh, was that so hard?

HOST SYSTEM NOT RESPONDING, PROBABLY DOWN. DO YOU WANT TO WAIT? (Y/N)

Working...