In response to my prior entry, my son asked about using NFC (phone) for payment, rather than cash. It’s not simple. At this moment this country in a maelstrom of deciding what to do next. Isis with C-Sam is an NFC mobile payment system that’s at least deployed in a few places, and it’s a consortium of Verizon, AT&T and TMobile. They saw early-on that the crypto chip in phones is controlled by the carriers and took advantage of that, locking other payment processors out. (Like Apple did with Firewire’s high licensing fees and failed when everyone went to USB, even though Firewire was far superior) Unfortunately though, NFC payments have been minimal in the past year, so some major retailers (7-Eleven, Best Buy, et al) have turned off NFC functions in their terminals as it costs (a few fractions of a cent) to keep them on!
You may have heard about the massive credit card breaches at Target, Neiman-Marcus, Sally Beauty Supply, Splash & Key Road Car Washes, Roy’s Restaurants, MAPCO Express, Schnuck Markets, and others. Where customers of those stores who used credit cards during certain periods in the past year, have had their credit card information scooped up and sold on the black market for carders to buy and steal with. Thousands of cards for sale in a carders’ forum called Rescator[dot]so and [dot]la (don’t visit it without shields up) at $10-$25 each, in tranches called “Ronald Reagan”, and so on. Rescator brought an innovation that hasn’t been seen before across dozens of similar crime shops in the underground: It indexes stolen cards primarily by the city, state and zipcode of the stores from which each card had been stolen, which means carders can conveniently shop in their area and not trip alarms. Carders (usually street gang members) buy blocks of this card info (tens, hundreds, thousands of cards), write the magstripe of old gift cards with the info, and use them to buy expensive items to re-sell, and more gift cards. (Incidentally, banks are also buying this card info, to try and stem the tide… it’s cheaper than the thefts they have to cover)