iPhone Users Are About to Be Screwed Over
There has been a lot of talk about the addition of an NFC (near field communication) chip to the next-gen iPhone. This will allow the phone to be used as a swipe-it-yourself credit card. I consider this technology to be the most onerous ever.
I first discussed the idea of your mobile phone becoming your credit card in the mid-1990s and was just biding my time before it came to pass. Bluetooth was invented in 1994 and gave rise to a lot of speculation regarding its usefulness. For a few years, all sorts of futuristic uses were imagined and a serious discussion of the so-called PAN (personal area network) began, but never went anywhere.
The PAN, spurred on by Bluetooth, would allow you to walk down the street and be told about sales, bargains, events and other nonsense from nearby stores and museums. You'd walk into Walmart and your name would be displayed a computerized sign to greet you as an old man pointed at the sign and then pointed at you in some creepy manner.
When you checked out, the Bluetooth device would take care of the payment accounting, and you'd never use cash again. This process could easily be mobile phone centric.
Over the years, through what I consider incompetent marketing, Bluetooth was relegated for use as a wireless earpiece technology and not much else. The PAN was dead as a doornail and my take on the phone as a credit card fell by the wayside. For the moment.But good ideas can't be killed. But this "good idea" isn't about the convenience of paying with a phone swipe, but the idea of running your tab through the phone company. If you think your banker is a gouger with dubious fees and no-leeway, what do you think the phone company will be like? Yes, let AT&T handle all your money for you, and see how that works out in the end.
morehttp://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A ... -R0kC0pqRAU.S. Sues AT&T Over Hearing-Impaired Call Service Fraud
US Justice Department lawsuit alleges that AT&T knowingly collected millions of dollars for calls that were actually placed by Nigerian scam artists ... http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402045,00.asp
Actually, there is a functioning system of using your phone as a way to pay bills, transfer money, do banking. It's in Africa of all places. It's called M-Pesa.
The system was developed and ran by Sagentia from initial development to the 6 million customer mark. The pilot project was joint funded by the UK government Department for International Development (DFID) and Vodafone’s Kenyan affiliate Safricomm in 2003–2006 and commercially launched in 2007.
The pilot was first used to disburse loans from Faulu (a Kenyan microfinance agency) to its clients and collect repayments. Additionally clients could deposit and withdraw cash from authorized M-PESA agents, make person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, purchase airtime for re-sale or personal use.
The service has now been transitioned to be operationally run by IBM Global Services on behalf of Vodafone. The initial 3 markets (Kenya, Tanzania & Afghanistan) are hosted between Rackspace and Vodafone.
The initial concept of M-Pesa was to create a service which allowed microfinance borrowers to conveniently receive and repay loans using the network of Safaricom airtime resellers. This would enable microfinance institutions (MFIs) to offer more competitive loan rates to their users, as there is a reduced cost of dealing in cash. The users of the service would gain through being able to track their finances more easily. But when the service was trialled, customers adopted the service for a variety of alternative uses and complications arose with Faulu, the partnering MFI. M-Pesa was re-focused and launched with a different value proposition: sending remittances home across the country and making payments.
M-Pesa is a branchless banking service, meaning that it is designed to enable users to complete basic banking transactions without the need to visit a bank branch. The continuing success of M-Pesa in Kenya has been due to the creation of a highly popular, affordable payment service with only limited involvement of a bank.
M-Pesa Customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents. M-Pesa is operated by Safaricom, a Mobile network operator (MNO), which is not classed as a deposit-taking institution (such as a bank). Therefore, M-Pesa may not be advertised as a banking service.
The service enables its users to:
Deposit and withdraw money
Transfer money to other users and non-users
The user interface technology of M-Pesa differs between Safaricom of Kenya and Vodacom of Tanzania, although the underlying platform is the same. While Safaricom uses SIM toolkit to provide handset menus for accessing the service, Vodacom relies on USSD to provide users with menus.
In 2008 Vodafone partnered with Roshan, Afghanistan's primary mobile operator, to provide M-Paisa, the local brand of the service. When the service was launched in Afghanistan, it was initially used to pay policemen's salary, which was set to be competitive with what the Taliban were earning. Soon after the product was launched, the Afghan National Police found that under the previous cash model, 10% of their workforce were ghost police officers who did not exist; their salaries had been pocketed by others. When corrected in the new system, many police officers believed that they had received a raise or that there had been a mistake, as their salaries rose significantly. The National Police discovered that there was so much corruption when payments had been made using the previous model that the policemen didn't know their true salary. The service has been so successful that it has been expanded to include limited merchant payments, peer-to-peer transfers, loan disbursements and payments.
Link to CBC audio story on M-Pesa:http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2012/02/repeat-of-spark-151-february-16-29-2012/
Just for the record, I have a cell phone, but it's not a smart phone. It's a Samsung made in South Korea. I can make phone calls with it, in theory text, I use it to make memos to myself, and I can put MP3s on it. That's about it.