Orange has launched a prepaid credit card in the UK, branded Orange Cash and backed by MasterCard, while from today the Irish can get hold of an O2 Money card. The plastic cards are contactless, and so can be used by waving them near a reader, but both launches are really about sticking a toe into the financial waters, and …
Not just relatives, I used one when I went to Asia last year, keep things separate from other accounts and less risk if it got cloned at a dodgy restaurant...
And while they're contactless, I'll be steering clear. Sorry, it's just too easy to my mind to create a "contactless" reader that you can hold near people in a crowd and get payments from them and thus is in any number of money-laundering or other schemes, even if it's just the hassle of me having to cancel that card and get a replacement.
My old-fashioned credit card - so long as it stays in my wallet, nobody can use the information on it unless I choose to give it to them, or they get it from a source that I have chosen to give it to. It won't be long before you find that your little sojourn through the Tube cost you more than you think because your credit card was "wireless". There's little point doing it on Oyster but it's still been done. There's little point doing it until it's mass market. But when it is, I'll be clinging to a physical card for my live.
We have KFC, and DFC, does Northampton Fried Chicken have a copywrite claim here?
Pay by mobile
I cannot think of any good that can come out of precharging a phone with money. It just makes them even more attractive to thieves than they were before.
I was given (without asking) a Barclaycard contact-less visa and Oyster card in 2009... I've yet to find anywhere to wave it... Maybe I've missed opportunities, I don't know, but if the shop staff don't let me know they have wave-able technology, how am I supposed to know?
I guess I should look out for anywhere that has water slides through it as a hint.
.... this will not succeed in the UK - not during a recession - credit/debit cards already solve this problem without the need to pay to top up.
They have succeeded, but do have limitations
Prepaid cards are already common in the UK. They have there place for people with a poor credit history, no income, etc. Some are also available for under 18s - I got one each for my kids so they could buy on line without using my card and learn to control their own finances.
The problem is that many games web sites won't accept prepaid cards due to fraudulent use of stolen cards - even though it is the holder that loses, not the web site. Makes the two I got virtually useless but for some people they are a good idea.