Phone payments

Ok, listen up phone companies. For the record, by phone companies I mean:

  • Wireless carriers
  • Headset/hardware manufacturers
  • Platform/application software vendors.

Cellphones can replace the credit card, easily. Stop dicking around and do it, already.

Oh, but how do we do it? QQQQQQQ!?!

Well, let’s look at a few theoretical problems and solutions, shall we?

*Problem: *How do we make this work?

Solution: Well, RFID seems to be going into everything these days and it’s merely a matter of time until it’s even in my underpants.

*Aside: new idea – RFID in underpants so girls can find the right “size” merely with an RFID-aware phone. They just need to walk around in public waving their phones near guys crotches. Oh yeah, I think we also solve a population problem at the same time, BONUS!

Seriously though, the credit card is merely used, most often, as coded strip of numbers. I realize any phone solution is not perfect but, guess what, credit cards aren’t either. Plus, here, if phones have, you know, GPS, you can likely tell when sketchy purchases are made if the phone is nowhere near a POS purchase, BONUS! (again)

Problem: How will we have branded phone-credit-thingies?

*Solution: *Not my problem – perhaps throw in an “app” or “apps” or online subscription or whatever to get people to have your “branded” solution. This is ideal, I think anyway, because the branding moves beyond a simple chunk of plastic to a lifestyle.

*Problem: *How do we make it secure?

*Solution: *Fingerprint reader, or, if accessibility is an issue, some other biometric solution. Be creative, accessible authentication might just mean you have to have some users test out new ideas. What about having someone with physical impairments just tap a series of colors. For example on their screen:

[blue | red] (user chooses red)

[green | blue] (user chooses green)

… and so on.

While we are at it, whatever form you use, build in “emergency” codes (whether it’s printing X finger (user can use whatever finger they want) or Y pattern of colors) which when used will page emergency services (and work normally).

All of this is brought up by the fact that I never, ever, carry cocaine, I mean cash, on me. Tonight a nice guy really needed bus fare (yeah, really). I would have loved to wire him money, on the spot but, alas, I cannot. I could use an ATM and get f-ed by fees…

Problem: We will likely loose fees in this setup.

*Solution: *If you offer solutions for people which make their lives easier, your products more usable and actually develop your IP, your problem is a lie. I bet if you had microcharges on each transaction, you’d make a hell of a lot of money. More than, you know, people using actual money. In cases where people use phones in place of cards, just keep ramming us with fees per usual.

Finally, as an addendum to this solution, please work with companies who make registers to develop some *format for receipt data. In turn, have this data passed back to the authorized and paying device. *I AM SICK AND TIRED OF COLLECTING SCRAPS OF PAPER. I also hate giving my email at a store (Apple, I am looking at you). In the words of one of my odd heros: make it work.