This week we’ve seen the launch of the Kiwi-grown Semble ‘mobile wallet’ payment system, which lets people with compatible banks and NFC-capable Android phones wave their mobile phones at retailers’ point of sale terminals to make payments – no card required.
I’ve never lusted after such a payment ‘solution’, but I have been reasonably interested in electronic payment matters since the early ’80s when I worked for Databank and was a pioneer eftpos trialist. So I thought I might at least give Semble a tryout.
First, they’ve launched Semble but the app is not in the (naffly-named) Android Play Store.
Second, though my Google Nexus 5 phone is NFC-capable, it isn’t listed among the eligible phones, which are all Samsung or HTC.
And third, I would have to replace my phone’s SIM with a special secure model. A hassle.
Currently when I do an eftpos or credit card payment, I ask for the printed docket so I can later enter the transaction into my accounting program. So my wallet has to be out of my pocket and open to receive the docket. It’s no extra work to take my debit or credit card from the wallet and apply it to the POS terminal.
If I used my phone instead of a card, I’d have to take it out of my pocket to do the terminal-wave thing. But I’d still want a printed docket to enter into my accounting system. So I would still have to extract my wallet to receive the terminal printout.
Semble (and any other form of mobile wallet payment including Apple Pay), would force me to extract two things from my pocket, rather than only one. And juggle between them.
How is this more convenient than just using a credit or debit card? Is it any wonder there’s been almost zero public interest (beyond the tech community) in mobile wallet payment systems?
Is this technology for technology’s sake – solutions looking for answers?
OK – call me a Luddite.