I'm reading this article the other day about something new they want to do with debit cards. They want to make them "swipe-free." You will just have to wave them in the general direction of some sensor to actually pay for something. It's another nail in the coffin of that pesky cash, which the government would love to replace with something more trackable.
Sorry, my paranoia was showing for a second there.
These "no-swipe" cards are aimed primarily at fast-food restaurants, movie theaters and parking lots. Supposedly, McDonald's, CVS and 7-Eleven are among those accepting PayPass.
That's not the part that scared me, although it's scary enough in its own right.
This is the part that scared me:
The no-swipe technology is leading some banks to experiment with credit and debit card chips placed in cell phones or on key chains. Discover Card is exploring a fingerprint way to pay, and other banks are testing rice-size chips that are placed under the skin of a person's arm.
Fingerprints, yeah. Key chains, OK. But under the skin of my arm?
Um, eff that.
What the hell are they thinking? Who will sign up for this? In fact, what kind of person even signs up for the testing?
This will never, ever become mainstream, and here's why:
I did a little inventory of the old wallet, and based upon the number of charge cards and debit cards I have in there in there, I would look like this:
Also, this is obviously not something the Tellers at your local branch will start doing after watching a 10 minute training video. This shit clearly means a doctor's appointment.
I really cannot even imagine the process involved. When you open an account, do they hand you the rice grain in an envelope with your PIN on it?
"Here you go -- get that injected and you'll be all set."
What about tech support on this bitch? If it doesn't work right, does the bank blame the doctor? I can just imagine the fingerpointing. Not to mention the inevitable comments on your poor lifestyle choices.
Pissed off customer: "My implant won't work the ATM anymore!"
Branch Manager: "Well Mrs. Smith, we've determined that the reason your chip isn't activating the ATM is because you put on some weight and your arm is, um, really fat now. Our corporate policy is to have you hit the treadmill 3 times a week and go on the Atkins diet."
It would definitely add a whole 'nuther dimension to the "pissed off customer" scenario. It's not like you could just walk in, close the account and storm out. Again, it's a freakin' doctor's appointment. I really can't picture Mrs. Smith, in a fit of anger, digging out her chip with that little pen on the chain.
"Hey, where'd you get that scar on your arm?"
"Oh that? Yeah, Citibank sucks. I closed that account."