back to article TREELLION DOLLAR mobe bonk-bank alliance goes for barcodes

The consortium of US retailers hoping to own pay-by-bonk have signed Gemalto to process their payments, revealing that on-screen bar codes lie at the centre of the scheme. The consortium, branded the Merchant Customer Exchange or MCX, was launched last August with the intention of hosting a standard platform for mobile-phone …


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  1. Gordon Pryra

    Critically the barcode will also work on an iPhone

    Your article seems to say that you think they are willing to invest in an old system on the back of people still using iPhones?

    Sounds about as well thought out as the UK Digital Radio roll out. I would have believed people who are actually spending their own cash would have a more forward thinking approach

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Critically the barcode will also work on an iPhone

      Not only iPhones, there are plenty of Android phones that don't have NFC either, it is hardly a requirement for the platform.

      NFC is a problem looking for a solution. What I find most laughable are the arguments that it is better because it can work when your battery is dead. That is true only if you don't want the owner of the phone to have any way to approve (or not approve a transaction) If it works when your battery is dead, it will also work for someone with a high powered directional antenna in a backpack or briefcase silently stealing money from you at a distance of 10 feet on the subway.

      I could see using NFC if it REQUIRED me to approve a transaction with a PIN or thumbprint or even to hit "OK". But to just wave my phone over a reader as the entirety of the transaction? (which is what is required if it is a solution that's going to work even when your phone is dead)? Hell no!

      How is using a phone for this any better than waving my wallet over a reader to have a NFC enabled card pay the amount? Or to take the extra three seconds to take my card out of my wallet and swipe it through a reader, thus guaranteeing that I really wanted the transaction? Do you just fantasize about not carrying a wallet anymore? If you lose your phone you'd be well and truly screwed - no phone, maybe don't know the actual number for any friends, and you have no money, either....hope you enjoy the long walk home!

      The people who push so hard for NFC have as big of an infatuation with "new, new, shiny, shiny" as the iPhone fanboys they dislike so much.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NFC == No Frigging Chance

    that I'll ever use it.

    Just wait until the pickpockets get hold of portable cash extractors and you won't know you've been robbed.

    One person on a crowded train taking 50p/£1 or so from 500 people would work for them. For those who have had their mobile NFC lifted so to speak, the amount is small enough not to worry about. Sorta like the rounding error 0.0001$ that were 'moved' to another bank account. Small enough not to be noticed but over time, large enough to matter.

    I actually applaud Apple for holding fire on this bit of tech and I was an Android user (gone back to Symbian now)

    We just don't know all the risks associated with it.

    1. gc73

      Re: NFC == No Frigging Chance

      Large numbers of credit cards already have NFC tech built in, and you don't hear about millions being silently creamed from wallets. I wonder how much of a hand Apple has in all this to create a problem for Passbook to solve.

  3. Don Jefe


    I still don't see the advantage of another form of payment.

    Between cash, checks, credit cards, bank issued letters of credit, debit cards, store charge cards and pre paid cards (gift cards) there are already so many ways to pay. Adding another option doesn't seem to add any value. Maybe I'm just not seeing it & someone can tell me why this is important.

  4. Jon Massey


    Not so much pay-by-bonk as pay-by-boop

  5. JJS


    I'm guessing the process is going to work like this:

    1) Cashier rings up my items and says, "That'll be $3.50"

    2) I fumble about unlocking my phone, finding the specific app corresponding to this payment network, wait for it to load. With any luck, the cell network coverage will be so poor that the app can't authenticate my account.

    3) Hand the phone to the cashier/hold the phone under a barcode scanner while it attempts to read the barcode presented on the screen.

    3a) Tilt the phone this way and that to try and get it to read something other than a reflection from the glossy screen

    3b) Rub the screen on my sleeve to clear the fingerprint smudges

    4) Apologize to the people behind me for wasting so much time.

    I've been through step 3a/3b many times already with my significant other's Starbucks gift cards on her iPhone that use the same technology. Truly annoying when you have to hand your phone into the drive through window while they fumble about getting a clean scan. I'm just waiting for them/us to drop the phone onto the concrete during the hand off one of these times.

    I thought I was irritated at the Luddites still writing checks at the counter, this is going to be nearly as bad. Removing a credit card from my wallet and swiping takes seconds and my brief use of Google Wallet via NFC took even less time (unlock phone, tap the terminal). For something that is targeted to replace "expensive to process cash", its looking like it'll be far more inconvenient.

  6. 63074782

    NFC will be the trend?

    NFC is not only about making payment, but also allows transmission of message. I think the advantage of NFC over others is that it helps marketing like QR code. That's why more companies are stepping into this field.

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