[Dave Birch] So I’m a big e-money fan, and I really don’t want to bother with cash, and I want to pay everywhere using cards, phones, psychic power, whatever. Yet my cash replacement experiences are so poor I’m being to lose heart. I tried to pay for my coffee (and a colleague’s Snapple — note the journalistic accuracy) using my contactless Visa card. The UOB terminal said that it read the card, then a red light flashed momentarily and I got the message “transaction failed”. Why? I didn’t know, and nor did the shop assistant. Wrong card? Wrong card scheme? Gone over my limit? Offline No CVM counter reached zero… now I’m thinking “shall I waste money on an international mobile call to Barclays, shall I waste money on a call to UOB, shall I have to pay another ATM fee” as well as “how many times have I used this card without the PIN, is it 9 or 10 you’re allowed before you’re declined… but hold on, shouldn’t the terminal say if there’s a routine security check… no, what’s the phrase on the terminals in our office…”

Wait a minute: Normal people don’t start thinking about Cumulative Offline Value and other EMV risk management parameters, they just think “what a bad system, I won’t bother to use it again”. If we want to replace cash, guys, we’re going to have to do better than this. I’m hope that London taxi drivers have been given a full briefing on extended risk management in EMV Level 2 transactions over a wireless interface…

RBS will pilot contactless card acceptance in association with MasterCard in 25 London-based taxis owned by Xeta. If demand meets expectations, rollout of contactless card readers will be extended to Xeta’s entire taxi fleet.

[From ePaynews.com – the payment news and resource Center]

As was discussed back at the Digital Money Forum, after an excellent presentation by Ronnie O’Toole from National Irish Bank, a significant step toward cash replacement would be for taxi regulators to insist that cabs take contactless. This was part of the bank’s submission to the Irish Department of Finance:

The taxi regulator should make it compulsory for all taxis and hackneys to accept payment by debit or credit cards by the 1st of November 2008.

[From Digital Money Forum: I don’t care too much for money…]

I think I’m going to write to Boris about this.

Now, of course, I’m desperate to find one of these taxis (shouldn’t be hard: there’s only 21,000 taxis in London). At Consult Hyperion, we have always understood the key role of London taxis in the future of payments…


Thing is, guv, I don’t hold with them “Offline No CVM” counters, we didn’t need them in my day…

Seriously, consumers need a perception of security and trust, whatever the reality behind the terminal lights. And it needs to be a common experience, between cards, card schemes and merchants. I should always hear the same beep and see the same green light (or whatever) to let me know that the terminal has read the card correctly. I should always see a flashing red light if the terminal is awaiting authorisation. I should be able to distinguish between “you have no money”, “your card is invalid” or “you can’t use that card here” and so forth. There’s lots of ways to make this a better experience.

Perhaps this is where we can make some significant advances with phones. My phone screen can provide more detailed messages of explanation as well as hierarchical access to help and support. That, by itself, might be enough to persuade many people to switch to phone-based payments.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

1 comment

  1. ..gone over limit…
    probably as you’ve said you had gone over your international txn limit for offline txns.
    With the additional data/help menu on the phones, incoming calls to CCs for complaints/inquiries will decrease – less staff to be allocated – which is good for costs – and which is bad for work labour in the long run.
    Besides economical issues, i still have a question : think of year 2014, you had the same experience but this time with a phone ? And because you are a frontier you are not carrying cash with you nor credit card: what is the next best thing to do ?

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