Thursday, April 22, 2010

Let's PingPing!

Ever heard of PingPing yet?

Here in Belgium the mobile service providers are developing a framework for paying small amounts with your cell phone. Unfortunately, the major cell phone manufacturers (BlackBerry, HTC, Apple, Nokia, ...) aren't agreeing on a standard yet, so for now things will have to be done via a NFS tag (stricker) than you can paste on the back of your cell.

How does it work?
The NFS tag has a chip in it with your information: name, address, bank account, mobile service contract, ...
When you want to pay for something, you can have the NFS tag scanned and that's it. Nothing more. While you use what you just bought, the amount will disappear from your bank account or amount that you put on your NFS tag for this purpose. Soon, the amount can also be added to your phone bill so you pay the mobile service provider.

So what all can you?
Walk up to a vending machine and just push the button for a cola, drive in and out of a parking lot without hassling with tickets, pay for the movie theatre, pay for you lunch, ...
Leant a few bucks from a colleague yesterday? No problem, you can even transfer the amount from your PingPing account to his/hers, directly from your cell phone. Pretty cool no?

Of course you don't see any information about problems posted somewhere, but my first thought was security. You steal/find someones phone, can't just call on their expense, you can actually start paying for stuff, since the process never requires you to enter the pin code or anything like that.
But perhaps even a bigger problem, personal control? Because let's face it, we keep our cell phones on us like our wallets nowadays.
We'll be paying for pretty much everything by just waving our cell phone, without "noticing" the rest. You can already imagine the stories you'll be reading pretty soon: "PingPing bill of +5000$, John Doe didn't realise his spendings, ..."

Still I believe people should be responsible for their own actions.
I think this is great technology and can't wait to REALLY start using it.

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