Are NFC and smartphones-as-credit-cards dumb ideas?


…financial institutions, mobile handset makers and carriers have dreamed of turning your cellphone into a mobile wallet, to use your smartphone the same way you use a credit or debit card.Finally, this year we may finally reach this near field communication (NFC) nirvana, of simply waving our smartphone over a retail payment terminal instead of a credit or debit card to pay for our copiously consumed commodities.There’s only one problem. Using your smartphone as a credit or debit card replacement may be more trouble than it’s worth.

I can’t imagine doing this on a regular basis. Too many concerns about security and data integrity for me.

  • You know what works better NFC payments and has near 100% penetration?

    Credit cards.

    This ongoing conversation is akin to saying the dollar coin in the US is going to be a hit after most vending machines have bill readers.

    • LOL exactly. It feels like this is a solution looking for a problem most consumers don’t have. Geeks like NFC because it’s cool and techy. Joe Six Pack couldn’t care less, IMO.

    • Agreed. Credit/Debit cards are (right now) the easiest way to pay for things. Certain technologies, while cool and potentially useful, simply aren’t going to solve a problem unless there is one that the vast majority of people have.

      NFC has too many security/usability issues to even get a small foot in the door of payments – not the least of which is that unless EVERYWHERE I SHOP has an NFC device, I’m probably not going to use it anywhere. 

      This is the same problem 100% electric cars face. Until you can “plug-in” anywhere you would park your car, you probably aren’t going to buy one as your primary vehicle (unless you’re rich and live in SoCal).

  • *better than

    SEE ALSO: QR Codes

  • Wow. This is one of the very few examples where Betteridge’s Law of Headlines doesn’t hold.

  • Hm… Here in Japan we have had this for some years now, you can pay with your cellphone (dump phone), you can use it as commuter pass. But over the time many problems have been reported. To me the strongest concern is not only trust (there where reports on false bookings, etc.) but also the still not unrealistic possibility to simple read the data “over the air” if the device is not tightly secured. On the other hand, it is so popular, that Softbank (first carrier to have the iPhone from 3G on in Japan) offered (or even still offers, not sure) a sticker with NFC that you put on the back of your iPhone. And most Android Phones published in Japan, at least these by Japanese makers, have the NFC included. But I doubt that could catch on outside Japan, anyway ^-^

  • Simon Fairbank

    What utter rubbish ! Get with the times you total Luddite !

  • Adam

    I’m going to have to keep carrying my wallet around for so many other reasons — to carry my driver’s license, insurance cards, library card, cash, etc. If I’m going to have it with me, why not just keep my credit card in there too? I don’t see NFC phones-as-payment taking off until we get beyond the need to carry so many other physical things around with us too.

  • Give Dwolla a shot. Safe, secure, quick.

  • Daniel Rubio Rocamora

    As simple as put the reader near your pocket… no need to pull out the phone..

  • De eso se trata .. de crear necesidades .