New Retail Technology on Tap

Nic Crowther
Thu 30 Oct

The decision by the ACCC to permit the removal of signatures as verification for credit cards has been warmly greeted by many retailers and consumers. Certainly it has led to some streamlining of the process of purchasing goods (under the limit of $100.00 - otherwise requiring a PIN), however it is not without some concern for particular sectors.

Yipping has now all-but-disappeared from bars and restaurants across Canberra. The practice of deferred tipping  - adding an amount to a credit card receipt before signing at the bottom – is no longer an option. 

Customers are now required to enter the tip amount at the cash register (or when presented with the EFTPOS terminal at the table). It’s a lot less anonymous and certainly not as well utilised as the traditional method with a signature. As such, café and bar owners are managing the downturn in income for staff and are looking to other strategies to ensure staff retention.

This isn’t the end of change for mobile payments though. Tech nerds who were following the launch last week in the United States of Apple Pay – a whole new method of transferring funds in a highly secure manner at Point of Sale.

For those unaware, Apple’s method involved storing your credit card details on a secured part of your phone and authenticating you purchase via a fingerprint scanner built into every iPhone and iPad currently on the market. In their words, “…when you make a purchase, a Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process your payment.”

In English, using your fingerprint is deemed much more secure than a PIN or signature (true) and your card’s details are never seen by the vendor or anyone standing within sight.  Just ‘Tap and Go’ as you would with Paypass or Pay wave. Whether people trust this system, despite Apple’s assurances, remains to be seen. The good news is that the high level of security should mean that even PIN entries would go by the wayside, regardless of the amount, and you can bet similar competitors will introduce similar systems.

It doesn’t go anywhere towards solving the tipping issue, but does have potential to make electronic mobile purchasing even more convenient than it has been since 1 August 2014.

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