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.
I’m immediately reminded of the online scams that took place during the modem era of communications. You’d be given a number to call, and it would actually be some sort of scam. The local number would connect to a BBS of some sort which would send a code back to the modem to turn off the speaker, so you couldn’t hear the modem disconnect and then redial a number in Bulgaria or some obscure island. You’d then be connected to a phone service that charged $100/minute for the connection. After racking up thousands and thousand of dollars in phone costs, you’d get the bill from your phone company for $30,000.
You’d bitterly complain about the bill—these stories were all over the news during this era—but the phone companies said they couldn’t do anything about the charges. The rates were protected by some U.S. treaty scammed together by the phone companies and signed into law. There was nothing they could do! So, you had to pay or lose your phone service and be sued in court.
This was unbelievable.
I’ve always been convinced this was test marketing to show the banks and everyone that the phone companies were the best collection agencies and should be in charge of your credit card and other transactions. After all, you can stall the bank, and what can they really do, anyway? You stall the phone company and you are disconnected from the world.
Do not let AT&T or Verizon or any phone company anywhere near your day-to-day financial transaction business!
You’ve been warned.
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