Someone must have once echoed those sentiments back in the 1890’s when payphones as we knew them were first introduced to the public. Now, as then, payphones were created as a convenience to be used in public places, mostly train stations, convenience stores, and on street corners. All that was needed was a few coins and you were online. Funny enough, though most of us don’t lament the passing of the large glass boxes dotting our landscape, we can all agree that the modicum of privacy they provided for a telephone conversation is sorely missed.
My how things have changed.
Today’s payphones are markedly different. Paying for goods and services with an iPhone is just another new wave of convenience for smart phone users. While the younger generation accepts this as the new norm, older generations (like me) may have a few trust issues; and rightfully so. Making purchases the old fashioned way, using an actual credit card, seems safer (even if it isn’t actually true).
Introducing Apple Pay. This new feature requires a user to link up a credit or debit card directly through the device software and grant Apply Pay access to the user’s account. Then, when users make an in-store purchase, they simply hold the iPhone up to the payment screen at the cash register. Interestingly, the phone connects to the terminal to initiate the payment process whenever it gets within a certain range of the terminal. The wary might be suspect that it’s only a matter of time before phones start making purchases on their own from a pants pocket or handbag, all unbeknownst to the user. One might end up paying for purchases of the customer in the next line over without even knowing it. The hacking possibilities seem limitless.
As with all new ideas, it seems that Apple has seen its first hiccup, and in its own backyard.
The tech giant has reportedly suffered a spat of fraudulent purchases of big-ticket items at its own stores by customers using Apple’s smart phones into which stolen credit card information had been manually entered. The fraudulent information was allegedly obtained through the recent breaches of retailers Home Depot and Target, and perhaps others. Even though the participating banks through which the credit cards were issued were supposed to require additional steps to verify an actual customer using the customer’s own card on their own phone, apparently that wasn’t the case. These recent breaches have caused banks to crack down further on their verification processes.
It is through these unsophisticated hacks to the system that the kinks will get worked out. Until then, I think I’ll keep my plastic handy.