Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mark of the Beast - Cell Phones to Replace Credit Cards

Cell phones have been mooted to be the future of electronic commerce for a number of years now. Now it seems that another major development has been made in the replacement of credit cards with the use of mobile phone payment technology. A "GetCash" scheme was launched in the UK today which allows users to get cash from ATM machines without using credit or debit cards - by using their cell phones instead. Customers with a particular banking app on their phones can request to be issued with a six digit PIN on their handset, which is valid for three hours. They then enter this six digit code at the ATM to receive cash.

The Huffington Post reports on this new innovation below:

Cardless Cash Machines Coming with GetCash Scheme

Mobile phone payment technology took another step forward today with the launch of a scheme allowing people to take cash from an ATM without using their debit card.
From today, people with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest mobile banking app can take money from an ATM by making a request on their mobile phone.
They will receive a six digit pin number after making the request, which can be entered at a cash machine for the money to be released.
The scheme aims to help people who may have lost or forgotten their card or those who might want to leave their wallet at home.
The service, named GetCash, works at NatWest and RBS ATMs, with a limit of £100 per use. The pin codes issued are valid for three hours and people can use the scheme as many times a day as they need to, as long as they do not go over their withdrawal limit.
It is available to around two and-a-half million customers who already have the banking app on their phone and those behind the initiative said it is a first for the UK.
(See the full article here)

It seems that it won't be long before contactless NFC technology will be incorporated into ATM machines. This would allow users to receive cash simply by swiping their cell phones over readers, in the same way that you can already use contactless payments at many high street stores right now. Of course the present security issues will have to addressed first, before any significant transactions could be made. But the rapid progress of biometric mapping could provide an easily implemented and highly effective security measure, since cell phones already contain the necessary technology. Your cell phone could easily and instantly run an iris, fingerprint or facial recognition scan through the in-built camera, before allowing any transactions to proceed. This would virtually eliminate the possibility of fraud. Biometric technology is already used in many modern passports throughout the world, and it would simply be a matter of sharing data between different government departments before the widespread use of this technology could be implemented.
Interestingly, it is in countries without a highly developed banking infastructure that mobile phone payments have taken off first. The BBC article and video from 2009 found here shows how cell phone payments were already widely available in Africa well before the introduction of contactless NFC payments in the West. So we still have some catching up to do.
Of course, eventually ATM machines will become completely defunct, and virtually all transactions will be made digitally over the www through cell phones. It is quite possible, and indeed maybe inevitable, that the need for cash will become redundant through this technology, and eventually no one will be able to "buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name." (Rev 13:17)

See also the related post Cell Phones versus RFID Implants as the "Mark" of the Beast

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