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back to article German tap-to-pay telco allies don't need no stinkin' banks

The German arms of Telefonica and Vodafone, along with Deutsche Telekom, have signed an agreement to take their virtual mpass payment platform physical, without the help of the banks. The letter of intent, signed by all three companies, states that the mpass system will be set up as a jointly-owned-but-independent company …

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FAIL

Queues at the supermarket?

Yeah....right. The time taken to check through and pack all the goods is insignificant when compared to the 2 seconds that could be saved by using contactless payment methods rather than swipe / chip contact ones.

I stopped reading after that, as it became obvious that those behind all this are actually complete idiots.

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FAIL

Time to check through?

A growing number from one chain of supermarkets here let you take a barcode scanner at the entrance to scan the items as you're placing them in the cart. At the "checkout", you place the scanner in a docking unit, pay (by PIN), it prints the slip which has a barcode to activate the exit gate, and there you go. Total time to check out, half a minute at most.There is supervision at the self-checkout, and you may be checked.

I suggest you not only stop reading, but stop dealing with those newfangled technologies altogether as you are picking faults with issues that have already been addressed.

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FAIL

Yeah right ^2

" "[Q]ueues at the supermarket will soon be a thing of the past," says Deutsche Telekom's ebullient Director of Marketing, espousing the benefits of pay-by-tap."

I'm due to pick up Mrs. Inventor of the Marmite Laser tonight, after her stint trolleybashing.

I sincerely doubt I'll see any change from the norm: People happy to queue for a manned checkout till whilst self-service checkouts stand idle.

Hate bloody self service checkouts: Slow, baulky, irritating and they don't smile.

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Trollface

Slow, baulky, irritating and they don't smile.

Not at all like their human colleagues then.

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Actually; no!

Most of the checkout folk at my local supermarket seem to be a quite personable bunch of (non arts/humanities) students and older womenfolk, most of whom seem capable of smiling and generally being pleasant and they appear to be meaning it.

Now I've said that, I'm sure to have the one checkout staffed by Mrs Rotweiller whose disposition is akin to the Emperor Dalek in a particularly psychotic frame of mind, but without the nice cuddly bits

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Anonymous Coward

A couple of points...

1) Banks and payments processors are different things. Mastercard/Visa are not banks.

2) They aren't going to be able to do this without a payments processor/bank because they will have to become a payment processor/bank in order to satisfy EU financial regulations. This is exactly what happened to PayPal.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: A couple of points...

1) My apologies for the terminology, I meant banking institutions rather than licensed banks.

2) mpass will become a licensed e-Money institution, as allowed by the EU, and as O2 (Telefonica) is doing in the UK. That enables them to process payments without involving anyone else.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

Bill.

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks...

Thanks... I wasn't having a go, just having worked in banks and payments processors you tend to get a bit anal about the differences...

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Anonymous Coward

Self Service tills and Other Stories

There is still a Human needed to man the not so self service tills.

The one that is needed to tell the till that yes that grey haired man is indeed over 25.

The one that is needed to tell the till that there are indeed three loose bagels in the bag and that they should only be charged for two.

The one to tell the till that yes the barcode is correct and that the human who messed up is an complete numpty.

Oh, and that voice. Can't we have a mute button?

So for us old farts who prefer to pay by jolly good old cash those contactless card fanbois can take a hike.

No where's me coat? Doris?

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Mute button

Depends where you're doing your shopping - Morrisons let you adjust the volume of the self-service checkout, all the way down to silent. Asda don't. I don't remember about the rest.

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Payment processors still get their cut

In order to top up these payment systems you have to add funds from somewhere, i.e. from a credit card or similar. So they take a hit from the payment processors and then they pass an even bigger hit onto the stores. It's why I think these things are a tough sell because at the end of the day its bad news for stores which already hate processing fees. I think from their point of view they probably would prefer visa / mastercard to run the system because the fees would be lower.

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Headmaster

Fees would be lower with Visa / MC??

I guess the system the Germans are planning (details are scarce) are that customers get their shopping bills added to their phone bills, and the telecom will then pass on the money (minus a processing fee) to the vendor. With Visa / MC, the vendor pays a cut to their bank for the processing, a cut to the credit card company, and sometimes a cut to the POS provider (some banks do not provide the POS equipment themselves and have a 3rd-party provider do it.) It stacks up to quite a chunk of change.

No reason why the telcos can't keep their ongoing costs to the vendors lower than credit card costs. Their main startup cost is the cost of terminals, they already have infrastructure in place which they can adapt. The reason banks / credit card companies can take such a cut is that they have a monopoly on retail payment processing. Having some competition in retail payment processing between traditional banks / CCs and telcos will bring down transaction costs, and, over the longer term, retail prices.

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