back to article PayPal's 'delightful' intrusion into meatspace: You wish

PayPal reckons its mobile payment system will take us into a new way of managing our money, and PayPal into the real world of real things, but disrupting world banking ain't that easy. The plans, announced yesterday, made huge play of being superior to the nascent NFC-based payment systems, which require replacement phones and …


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  1. Steve the Cynic

    Reading this title is optional.

    Re: existing payment terminals that make phone calls. Yes, indeed, such things exist. If you go to an outdoor event that's far enough outdoor, the merchant won't have access to much more than 2G GSM (not even GPRS or, worse, gprs), but the terminal will still make a phone call, presumably to the merchant's bank or other payment processor. (If the event is further out of doors, then the merchant falls back to a mechanical swipe-and-sign machine, 70s-style, complete with ugly carbon layers and the inability to sign with a fountain pen.)

    Of course, that terminal calls a pre-set number configured into it by the bank, not one entered on the keypad, so the criticism of PayPal's proposal stands.

    (FAIL icon partly for weak reporting, partly for the icon selection panel that looks like the icons are all disabled.)

    1. N13L5

      Paypal is the main problem, the proposed tech to a lesser extent...

      You happen to remember how PayPal freezes customer accounts whenever they feel like it? I remember eBay sellers getting frozen without wrong doing, taking months to regain access to their cash balance on PayPal.

      Worse, I remember PayPal freezing access for Wiki Leaks donation accounts, just out of political spite.

      If your payment platform takes it upon itself to be politically partisan and freeze your accounts just cause they don't like you, they should go to China.

      And remember to immediately withdraw your balances upon receiving money through them :P

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Are you US based?

    "One might prefer to ask the staff, who'll be needed anyway if there's more stock out back".

    In England?

    Are you sure?

    Oh you mean the teenager chatting to her mates doing everything she possibly can to avoid serving the customer and when you manage to bully her into talking to you (messing with the till or moving stock to random shelves is always a winner), she will now doubt mumble "if it ain't on the shelf we aint got it"

    Personally I find barcodes have a much better use then most of these braindeads.

    Still, shit idea though.

    1. Lars Petersson
      Thumb Down


      I was going to post pretty much the same.

      Or the useless staff in Tesco/Sainsbury's/wherever who don't know where anything is...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Lars

        I'm not surprised in the slightest nobody knows where anything is - everytime I go to Sainsbury's here, they've re-arranged all the shelves yet again, so the bread is now where the veg used to be and the ready meals are now where the baby food used to be.

        If I worked there, I wouldn't know where anything was either. Thank god they can't move the exits...

        1. Circadian

          @Anonymous Coward's @Lars

          OMFG - don't let any of the big retailers even think about that! Hotel California Tesco style, you can pay (and pay, and pay...) but you can never leave

          1. Dr. Mouse

            "OMFG - don't let any of the big retailers even think about that! Hotel California Tesco style, you can pay (and pay, and pay...) but you can never leave"

            I had an incident recently where that nearly happened. Went to the local supermarket just before closing. When I was leaving, they had locked the doors and had a guy standing there to open it for people to leave. Unfortunately, the key didn't work, and it took him 5 mins of jiggling to let me out!

        2. unitron

          everytime I go to ...* they've re-arranged all the shelves yet again

          "Thank god they can't move the exits..."

          Shhh! Don't give them ideas.

          *They do it here in the states as well, and not just grocery stores.

          I think the idea is that once you know where everything is you come in and go right to the one thing you need, which means you don't see everything else they have and impulse buy, and they'd rather take double what you would have spent now, and risk you not coming back because shopping there is so frustrating, rather than having you as a low amount per visit but frequent visitor.

          At least that's my deduction, and that gives me an excuse to use the Basil Rathbone icon.

          1. Nuke

            IKEA have perfected that

            Unitron wrote :-

            "the idea is that once you know where everything is you come in and go right to the one thing you need, which means you don't see everything else they have and impulse buy"

            In IKEA they do not need to keep moving the stock around as they make you walk past every piece of tat they sell anyway. The one in Bristol anyway.

            The whole of their store is a a single thread labyrinth over two vast floors where you must follow the route they prescribe. I once mentioned this to an assistant and he reckonned it was a mile and a half to walk through it.

    2. JimmyPage

      I was also going to highlight this gem

      most UK retailers don't have an "out back" anymore. "If it's not on the shelves, we haven't got it" is the stock answer ...

      Sorry, that just slipped out ...

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But ...

    Dear paypal, without your (I really don't know how you get away with it) monopoly on ebay, I wouldn't go near you at all.

    I would sooner put my money in the hands of a UBS trader than you. At least he appears to have owned up when he screwed up, something paypal never do.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes please!

    I'd really like a PayPal payment card to go shopping in town with.

    Oh, hold on a moment, nurse says my half hour internet time for good behaviour is up.

    Byeee! :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    reluctant userbase

    How many of those millions of users are reluctant paypal users because of ebay's insistence of you having to use their payment system so they can double dip?

  7. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge


    "To do that the shop will, obviously, have to integrate its entire stock management system with PayPal's service..."

    Really? All it takes is a simple REST API that passes the number encoded in the barcode to the merchant's site and receives an answer in an agreed format. The retailer has to write a small script that queries their back end, but it doesn't seem world shatteringly complicated for any retailer than already has an on-line store.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      or a QR label, and no need for translation

      Add a QR-code block to each label, encoded with a URL like "<product-SKU-number>", print them out, and hey-presto! Instant future!

      On another comment about PayPal's userbase being reluctant, yes I'd agree 100%.

      Also, many paypal accounts are attached to credit-cards (not least to avail of the fraud prevention and transaction reversal services you get as a customer from your credit-card issuer). I don't see why adding another middleman in the already too complicated electronic payments sequence would add any benefit to customers or merchants.

    2. Jean-Luc


      >All it takes is a simple REST API...

      "Dear Brewster, this is your hairdresser calling. May we suggest you book an appointment with us asap? Your hair is turning pointy again".

  8. Pavlovs well trained dog

    PayPal - not a chance in hell

    So, if you have a problem with PayPal you can not find real people to solve it.

    Your mail will go into an automated stream of back-and-forth never really getting solved.

    You might - if very lucky - find a warm body somewhere after a few months of having your account frozen

    they're the very definition of incompetence

    1. Ru

      Small Claims Court

      Everyone should have a go. It has relatively little cost and errort for the consumer, and has proven to be reasonably effective at extracting money from large, human-free companies like paypal.

      1. N13L5


        please elaborate!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer loyalty ?

    The problem is paypal is when you have a monopoly, and abuse it, when people have the choice they will do anything to avoid it.

    You had the opportunity to really build customer loyalty from a position of power (look how apple do it, even google) but you decided to abuse your position.

    Shrug. No loss to the internet when you go.

  10. rav
    Thumb Down

    Paypal? are you nuts!

    Paypal is a payment facilitator.

    If there is any kind of problem they are NOT available to solve it.

    I use Paypal with a credit card. If I have a problem I call my credit card company. Paypal was the spawn of EBAY, well known for it's customer disservice.

    Oh yeah, just becasue I have a phone or tablet doesn't mean that I need to use it to buy my groceries.

    All I want to do is make phone calls.

  11. Kristian Walsh

    How about comparing PayPal's idea with an existing system?

    A "Mobile Money" service launched recently in India, allowing cashless payments for anyone with a mobile phone:

    The initiative is backed by Nokia and two Indian banks, but as it's SMS based, it will work on any mobile phone, and it seems to be up and running right now.

    The other big difference compared to PayPal's plan is that this is a partnership with bricks-and-mortar banks, not some solo run by a tech company. So, amongst the other bill pay and cashless payment options, one of the available options is "Withdraw cash" (it generates a payment order that you can collect at any of the banks' branches). The ability to cash-out easily is essential for building trust in a new system like this.

  12. User McUser

    You missed one of the scenarios in the video...

    The last scenario in the video isn't the guy buying the hibachi, it's the lady shop lifting all that stuff she pretended to scan before waving her phone at the busy checkout clerk from 20 feet away.

    Not quite sure how PayPal's new service helped her steal those groceries, but I'm probably just not seeing the bigger picture.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    It doesnt matter how good or bad the system is, I will be using PayPal about as often as I use an Apple product.


    Screwed by them once, never again.

  14. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Down

    Gotta be kidding

    I don't do Paypal. What broke the camel's back:

    I wanted to buy a SkypeOut sub for 1 year, so I am presented with a PayPal option.

    Paypal account is empty or my old card has expired, so I need to enter my new CC. So far so good. The CC procedure is by far the most complicated I've seen for any online purchases.

    Numerous rejections later, not too mention Firefox or Noscript warning about an XSS hijack risk on their forms, still refused. For less than $30.00 of transaction, to their sister company. If my CC is indeed fraudulent, Skype can easily cancel my subscription on a service which costs them next to nothing to deliver. Actual risk to them: close to zero. Hassle to me: 45 minutes, without success.

    You really think I have any motivation to deal with them in RL?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It took me years to originally get a PayPal account-- I was one of the lucky few who managed (back in the old days of "register and give us the billing number associated with that small usd1.00 we made on your CC") to get snarled in their server swap just when I was registering. After their swap, they would not accept the number they gave me on the CC, and never did give my money back. They wanted all sorts of personal verification papers with no guarantee the papers would be destroyed after they received them! No thanks, I'd rather some fig leaf of privacy and a heap of money order stubs.

    After about 3 years, mysteriously it was OK to register the EXACT SAME CARD they rejected for the previous years. I only went to the Dark Side to use eBay.

    Now, I need to change the verified shipping address.

    I figure I'll be off eBay for another 4 or 5 years after this ill fated attempt, then just as mysteriously the new verified address will be accepted... if I'm still at that address....

    Anonymous, since I figure they troll the Web looking for PayPwn naysayers to persecute!

  16. tin 2

    I use PayPal all the time, several times a week pretty much. Always in the solid knowledge that at some point I will get ripped off. PayPal will facilitate that ripping off, and not assist me in getting the matter sorted.

    I am sure that as people can already buy stuff in the high street knowing that they are pretty well protected from getting ripped off. PayPal will not be able to compete.

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