Wave goodbye to your cash?

With Visa payWave, you simply wave your Visa card in front of a secure reader, and you’re on your way. Most of the time, a signature is not required for purchases under $25, plus, you retain control of the card during the transaction, which reduces the risk of fraud.

Visa USA | Personal | Visa payWave

Engadget mentioned the rolling out of Visa’s payWave with a giveaway at a San Francisco Giants’ game to get people interested in their new ‘convenient’ payment device. RFID is all very well for a lot of applications like library books or security tags in stores, but for your VISA card? So let me get this right, for low value transactions, a signature is not required? And all you need to do is be close to the reader?

Right so, what you’re suggesting is that pickpockets can have a rest. All you need to do is stand on a crowded tube with some technology and you can take money? Sounds great. Ok so you’d have to process the transaction through Visa to get the money so there is a fraud path there, but if this step was prohibitive then you’d not have credit card fraud now.

So the think tank for the name for this service seems to have encapsulated the security aspect of this idea: you PAY and WAVE goodbye to your money.

Mastercard’s PayPass system is a similar RFID system and I’m sure both companies will be going on about how secure it all is. If you’re making it 100% Zero risk for customers, then you can bet the liability will be put on the retailers, who will pass on the cost to us anyway. Trouble is that RFID credit cards have been compromised in the past.

In a western society that for those who have a surplus of cash to be bothered about carrying coins around instead of notes, maybe this apparent frustration can be whisked away by the flick of a key tag. I’m guessing these are the kinds of people who don’t bother to check their credit card statements either.

It’s going to require far more explanation and reassurances from the credit card bodies to convince the mass populace that doing away with coins is the future. I suspect this is the money equivalent of the mythical ‘paperless office’.

If you make anything easier involving money, it’ll be abused more easily too.

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