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Wal-Mart and Target Join Mobile Payments Project Aiming to Make Plastic Obsolete

 6:51 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wal-Mart and Target Join Mobile Payments Project Aiming to Make Plastic Obsolete [online.wsj.com]
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. are among roughly two dozen retailers working together to develop a mobile-payments system to compete with similar products from Google Inc. and big cellphone companies, according to people with direct knowledge of the project.

The push represents an effort by frustrated merchants to get the upper hand in the fast-developing market that turns cellphones into payment devices. The race pits the retailers against banks, credit-card networks, telecommunications firms and technology companies.



 6:56 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Personally, I do not like the idea of my phone being capable of making purchases. I just do not think it is secure enough.



 6:58 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm with you on that. Consider how many phones get lost or stolen. It will put a much greater value on a phone and phone theft.


 7:00 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't even imagine being willing to use a cellphone/app/whatevertheycallit as a payment method.

I'm fond of cash although I do use a credit card for some purchases.


 9:16 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder how people first reacted with they came out with the first $1 bill?
I wonder how people first reacted when banks started issuing the first personal checking "checks"?
I wonder how much flack the credit card industry caught when the credit cards were first thought of?

Not withstanding security, I think this is a great idea though.
We should embrace the emerging technology and be willing to look at it.

I don't see plastic going away but that it's just another means to the same end...but with more data about the user.


 10:12 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)


There is a really big difference between using plastic (which has its potential problems) and using a smart-phone.. Today's smart-phones are essentially mini-computers, and have the same exact problems when it comes to viruses, hackers, and similar.

So it all depends on implementation.. But any information stored in a smart-phone, or tethered to accounts enabled by that smartphone is vulnerable for abuse. Thats the new frontier for thieves.

10 years down the line, when some of those problems might have been handled? Yes, maybe I would use it.
But now, when everyone, especially the people implementing it, are still naive about its potential for abuse? Not if my life depended on it.

Most of the people pushing this are non-technical marketeers, who has all their interest focused on the tracking and marketing aspects of it. There are enough articles written in marketing mags to show that. Having worked for and with these type outfits, my bet is that the technical guys will be overridden by the marketeers and the dollar-signs in their eyes. I know I always was, until the sky started falling. Then the marketeers started ducking and white-washing their hands. So until that conflict is resolved, I will not be using my phone for anything other than its main purpose. Talking to people.

But I am likely influenced by the fact that I am cynical technical dude who sees the holes and see people trying to break systems every day. If you know where the holes are and how to use them, you also see all the potential for abuse.

Most people are blissfully ignorant when it comes to electronic/online dangers, and they like being kept that way. It makes the world look like a nicer place to be. Until they get scammed.. Then suddenly they start screaming about why someone else did not protect them from their own actions or lack of security awareness.


 7:38 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

until mobile phones have batteries with extreme life, i don't see anyone leaving their plastic credit cards at home. the fact that our phones can die within hours is reason enough to carry plastic. i still carry cash even though i usually pay credit, just as a backup. if mobile payments take off, plastic/cash will still be carried as a backup, in my opinion.


 11:11 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

As soon as I use my smart phone for anything except classic phone calls and sms the battery drains very quickly. I wouldn't trust it as my main means of payment.

I have been caught out by electronic payment systems going down before now and always carry enough cash for a couple of gallons of petrol and keep a reserve of small change in the car for parking and tolls.


 12:22 pm on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

i agree that it would make smartphones even more steal able than they are now.
i think that facial recognition software should be used for b&m stores for card transactions - surely it can't be far away ... they seem to be trailing it at heathrow airport (for passport control).


>>small change in the car for parking and tolls.

:) small change doesn't get you much parking in london!


 1:58 pm on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd prefer a biometric payment solution. If your payments are tied to a unique aspect of yourself (retina, fingerprint, dna)You don't worry about losing it, it is as secure as anything you have now and it is extremely easy to just instantly change banks without having to worry about account numbers and such.

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