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back to article Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING, cries mobe research dude

A new report by Juniper Research makes much less bullish predictions of NFC uptake than we’ve seen before – and the report’s author, Windsor Holden, blames Apple for snuffing out hopes of future pay-by-bonk and such wireless stuff. NFC is a contact-less system that transfers information via radio wave between phones, tablets, …

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To be honest, I'd rather wave my debit card around in a shop or at ticket barriers than take out my expensive phone and wave it around. I'm not really sure there is a need for NFC payments unless it gets added to very low end phones so it can be used by people who may not have a contactless card (or any card).

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I think most people would. An NFC can be embedded in a bit of plastic and works just as well. Why whip out a phone for all the thieves to see?

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Why do we need "contactless" payments AT ALL?

What's wrong with swiping a card?

NFC is and always has been a solution looking for a problem. Embedding it in a card reduces its security. Adding it to a phone provides nothing that couldn't be done just as well with Bluetooth which has been in every Apple and Android phone since day one.

I will say I am surprised at how many there are here criticizing NFC. I remember these threads a few years ago and it seemed like there was a lot more support for NFC, and a lot of criticism of Apple for not jumping on the bandwagon. At any rate, I'm skeptical that Apple's failure to implement NFC is responsible for the lack of uptake. It certainly hasn't helped, but I think NFC would have failed even if it had been present on the iPhone 5, because people don't want to pay for stuff by waving their phone around.

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Re: Why do we need "contactless" payments AT ALL?

"What's wrong with swiping a card?"

Well, for one thing, in this country we have chip and pin and you don't swipe a card, you shove it in a slot. The process of paying by bonk is a lot faster than paying by pin, which is really useful if you're in a hurry (the M&S at my local station uses it)

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Re: Why do we need "contactless" payments AT ALL?

"What's wrong with swiping a card?"

If I board a bus, it's easy to swipe an NFC card on and off. If I'm waiting for a train and want to buy a mars bar then it's faster if I can swipe through a small purchase without entering a PIN.

It probably offers nothing for larger purchases where it makes no difference if I put the card in a slot or wave it around before typing a PIN. I suppose someone in Visa / Mastercard might have decided that one method of payment is less likely to result in someone losing their card or having it skimmed though.

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@Bill B

Shoving a card in a slot isn't any slower than waving it, unless you thinking slowing you down by 0.8 seconds is a problem. What slows you down is not inserting in the slot, it is inputting a PIN. In the US many banks have limits of about $50 before you need to sign or enter a PIN, below that you just swipe and go.

Quite why anyone would think that waving a card that can be easily skimmed by someone close to you (like on a bus or waiting in a line) and with a laptop bag size of equipment skimmed from 15-20 feet away is more secure than sticking a card in a slot so that one requires a PIN and the other doesn't is beyond me. More people need to do that I guess for your bank to realize that NFC is less secure than a chip w/o PIN, not more secure.

So as always, NFC is a solution looking for a problem. The solution to your problem isn't NFC, it is your bank not requiring a PIN for small transactions.

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Re: @Bill B

The problem isn't the extra 0.8 seconds it takes to process my transaction, it is 0.8 seconds multiplied by all the people in the queue in front of me.

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Re: @Bill B

> The problem isn't the extra 0.8 seconds it takes to process my transaction,

For a start, it doesn't take 0.8 seconds unless you're doing off-line transactions, but at least ten seconds and up to a minute (not counting retries) if the shop is validating transactions online as most of them do. I have found that in places like Tesco, where you're likely to be in a queue of people waiting to pay, the cashiers will helpfully suggest that you may pay by bonk if your card supports it (that's how I found out that two of my cards do NFC. No, they don't have a logo). In this case, validation is instant as far as the customer is concerned--it still takes 3-5 seconds though (yes, I checked, I'm that sad).

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Hmm.

The big news in the NFC mobile payments world is a switch from the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) – which put the secure element in the SIM card and gave the operators control of payments – to Host Card Emulation (HCE), where the secure element is in the handset and gives the control to piggyback (over-the-top) players, most significantly the banks.

So... who's responsible for the encryption? How easily would either system have allowed us to upgrade encryption if/when a weakness in the encryption is discovered?

And how much of a surcharge would we be hit with for the privilege of saving the banks from handling filthy lucre?

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It's a pity. I used it for the first time a few weeks ago, despite having a credit card with NFC for yeaaaars. I used it at Westfield London's Coca-cola machine, was kinda good to pay for it and not have to put in a PIN.

The one thing I really want is Google Wallet here in the UK, so that I can attach all my cards to it and then just use my mobile.

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I wanted to play with it when I got my new nexus 5 but if Google can't be arsed I can't either.

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a) I need Google UK Wallet to work

b) The only place I can wave my Credit Card is the Post Office, I don't see the symbol on the card readers any where else.

The Banks got the chip & pin readers out why hasn't it happened with the Pay by Bonk?

Still trying to run when most people can't even walk.

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The Banks got the chip & pin readers out why hasn't it happened with the Pay by Bonk?

What's in it for the banks?

Chip n Pin is more secure. And means they can try to push the liability onto someone else for fraud. What's not to like?

Pay by bonk might (maybe) make transactions a tiny bit quicker to process for the retailers. But that does nothing for the banks. It also introduces new security worries (either real or imagined), which will be the banks' liabilities.

So I really don't see anything in it for them. I suppose a bit less cash-handling - but they have to do that anyway, and they charge handsomely for it. The only reason for the banks to spend cash on it, is if it looks like someone else is muscling in on their profitable payment processing lark.

So it made sense for the mobile networks. But they're so fucking greedy they make the banks look like charities. As an industry, they're also so incompetent they make the banks look well run. So in their eagerness to grab control and revenue, they scared everyone else away.

Apple might just have the combination of marketing ability, competence and ability to temper their greed to just within what people are willing to put up with, so that this can all happen. But Apple don't seem to care. And I guess that's because the public don't care either.

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Anonymous Coward

Bonking is limited to £20 and if you don't use your PIN very often you stand more chance of forgetting it.

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"The one thing I really want is Google Wallet here in the UK, so that I can attach all my cards to it and then just use my mobile."

What a great idea! Put all your financial data in one place so the hackers get one stop shopping!

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What's in it for banks? LOTS!

Here in NZ anyway, there is huge gravy in it for banks.

In NZ, all the chip&pin cards are NFC and all go through Mastercard/Visa. That means the transaction gets handled the same way as a credit card even if it is a debit card. That means the vendor has to pay credit card processing fees which are far higher than debit card processing fees.

Apple et al will likely only do the NFC thing if they can take a shaving off the processing fee.

While I like the increased security of chip & pin, I don't want NFC. If I have multiple cards in my wallet I like to be able to control which card gets dinged when.

For a while we had NFC-less chip & pin cards, but I've now gone back to Luddite swipe.

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In Australia, Paywave is limited to $100. That's way too high. It should be limited to small-change transactions. Interestingly, although the cards are combined, paywave automatically shifts the payment from debit to credit accounts.

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Bonk also works at Boots, McD's & Aldi.

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Anonymous Coward

Aldi sort of!

both my credit and debit cards are pay by bonk, I use them where ever I can, a lot quicker than bu**ering around with a pin (wish more people would use them to make shopping in a lunch time quicker!)

Thing to note with Aldi is they don't take credit cards so your pay by bonk credit card won't work!

Wilkinsons also do pay by bonk

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No USP.

Us in the west are used to our debit cards and suchlike.

Where they should be aiming this technology is at the African market and in the dumb phones that support it.

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Hmm, uptake of pay-by-phone is slow? Well, I've had NFC capable phones for oooh 3 years, and through all that time none of them have supported a payment provider (or no payment provider has supported it due to their overbearing requirements).

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Mismanaged from the start

First, from a consumers point of view, making NFC payments with a card is pretty much the same as sticking the card in a reader, the costs are the same so no big deal.

The way to replace cash with NFC phones (what the banks want) is to make it universal and the same cost as doing it by exchanging small pieces of metal and paper, effectively zero. Sadly with so many groups trying to get their pound of flesh such as phone manufacturers, network operators and banks it will always cost more.

Then with several different competing systems there is no guarantee that random person A will be able to transfer money to random person B as there is the distinct possibility their two systems will not talk to each other, so you're back to square one.

Finally if it's tied to a phone you're stuffed if the battery is flat!

So from Joe public's point of view, what's the point?

And that's before you start worrying about the security aspects!

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Shift in Thinking

I have had a pay by bonk card for ages. Never used it as the only tills I have seen it at have been at the larger shops/department stores. After having queued to arrive at a till I now have a choice:: Cash? Card? or Bonk? Not knowing the fine detail of the pay by bonk or indeed if will it work I use either cash or card.

I have no desire to look like a plonker waving my card and the cashier giving me strange looks (well, no more than normal) :-(

Why not stick a small unmanned pay by bonk till by the exit with bullet point instructions for idiots (me) to reduce the normal queues?

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Boffin

Re: Shift in Thinking

@cosymart - I have no desire to look like a plonker waving my card and the cashier giving me strange looks (well, no more than normal) :-(

Why not stick a small unmanned pay by bonk till by the exit with bullet point instructions for idiots (me) to reduce the normal queues?

I've just recieved a pay-by-bonk debit card from my bank. I've had my moment of looking like a plonker, so I'll try and give my lesson -

Basically (my card) is limited to payments of £20, although YMMV. When you get to the till, the card machine will say something like "swipe or insert or tap your card". As long as it says tap, then slowly tap the chip end of the card to the TOP of the card machine, you don't need to hold it there. It should beep to acknowledge, a second or two later it will have processed your payment and will be printing the reciept. I have found that I can now do the bonk without taking it out of my wallet, which is useful but equally concerning.

One advantage is it does make the self-service tills in Waitrose faster, or it would do if the elderly used pay-by-bonk rather than the complex and glacial process for payment they seem to employ.

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Happy

Re: Shift in Thinking

@Don Dumb Thank you for your enlightenment. As a 60+ person I may fit into your Waitrose elderly persona. On that topic I have noticed that I seem to be one of the few people to use the self-scan system that they have. Now that does same time.

Getting back to bonking...If my Waitrose shopping bill ever came to under £20 I would bonk like mad! :-)

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Mushroom

Re: If there are two things banks hate dealing with it's cash and customers.

That's all the reason I need to stick with cash.

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Anonymous Coward

Also, for a lot of applications, like ticketing, barcodes work well enough to make NFC slow, expensive and unnecessary.

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I have to guess you've never used it. It takes me far longer to open my wallet and get out my card than it does to pull out my phone and tap the back against the terminal. So it's faster, not slower.

Using Google Wallet I pay exactly the same. My only disadvantage is I get fewer rewards from my credit card company - I'd normally get about 5% cash back in a supermarket and that's cut to 1% as a general transaction through Google Wallet. If I was using a debit card rather than credit card with rewards, there'd be no difference whatsoever.

Certainly it's unnecessary, but so to are debit and credit cards. Indeed we could all return to paying by lumps of gold. But, truth be told, I have a wallet full of bank cards and store cards. I carry my phone with me, so it's necessary. With widespread NFC acceptance, the wallet is not.

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Facepalm

Have iPhone competitors thrown in the towel?

From the article - "Apple is not, to this date, supporting NFC, so other companies have wondered, "why bother?"

Perhaps to have a unique selling point? God forbid other companies might actually want to give people a reason to buy their phones rather than iPhones. But no, we just get a range of identical looking phones that all do pretty much the same thing.

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Happy

"Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING"

Possibly because their customers are too "involved" with their shinies to concentrate on, ahem, bonking*.

*Or have I possibly misunderstood what El-Reg is referring to here? :P

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It just isn't available in the UK

Android phones have been NFC capable for quite some time but there is very little that you can actually use them for.

I could quite easily see a time where you have a wallet that holds your card details (pay by bonk), your work door entry, your hotel room keys, your work photo copier account access, toll payment, transport payments etc all secured by pin or biometric ID.

The technology exists to do this but the in-fighting between the various providers who wish to control your 'wallet' (bank, mobile operator, phone manufacturer, OS provider) seems to have completely stalled any up take of it.

There should've been a common standard that any apps could use via an api and use built in security + any additional layer they wanted to use.

I wanted to replace a number of NFC entry cards with a phone based system for a proof-of-concept project and although there was constant marketing from the supplier that this would soon be available it ended up that they could only do it for one off complete independent developments (completely custom app and new hardware, no standards at all).

If every new android phone that had NFC built in had the ability to have a multi use wallet supported by all the main banks and most other major third parties that use NFC in their cards, then it wouldn't matter if Apple supported it or not the traction would've meant they would've in their next phone. This isn't the case and, what appears to be complete apathy and in-fighting, has stopped this being a reality.

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Re: It just isn't available in the UK

>Android phones have been NFC capable for quite some time but there is very little that you can actually use them for.

I've had an NFC phone for a couple of years... I toyed with the idea of buying some 'smart tags' to go with it, to trigger different actions - i.e when the phone is placed on bedside table tag it switches to a silent profile - but I never got around to it.

If I could 'print' my own tags, I could see them being useful in some situations - stock control being the classic example - but is that a consumer application?

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Re: It just isn't available in the UK

I hear they're not that expensive these days. Samsung-brand TecTiles sell for under $10 for a pack of 5, and there are probably cheaper options. I'd consider that low enough to say, "Sod printing them."

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Bank Bonking

My Canadian bank (TD) offers pay by bonk, but they use a sim, not the phone. So you have to be on one provider that they made a deal with.

I switched from that provider a few years ago when they got to be greedy bastards, so no interest in that. Even if they do support the pay by bonk in my phone I don't think I'd have much interest. Already have both a bank card and credit card that support pay by bonk. Think I have used them about 3 times.

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Clearly Not In Business

It's just silly for this Holden fellow to say that Apple is the sole driver of technology adoption by manufacturers. Apple has had some really big wins and has a good product, but Apple sure as hell isn't the pinnacle of mobile phone technology. There are plenty of other phone manufacturers out there with access to the same materials and technology Apple uses, Apple has just landed a good combination of those things and is reaping the spoils, not controlling the industry.

The fact of the matter is that NFC doesn't fill a need gap. It's simply another payment vehicle in a world where payment vehicles abound. It's neat, but delivers no real benefit to the user.

The technology is also a big liability for handset manufacturers. It's one thing to put a technology in a non-migratory cash register or POS card machine where it's being monitored anytime it's in use. But phones do migrate and people like to work on them for fun and profit. Should a vulnerability be discovered in the technology it's going to spook people who otherwise ignore good security practices. The guy with his passwords written on post-it's on his monitor is going to shit if he thinks his money is at risk via his phone. It doesn't have to be a practical vulnerability, or even real, just the idea is enough to really screw up sales numbers.

There are other reasons as well, but they all say the same thing. There are plenty of reasons not to adopt NFC, and precisely zero of them are Apple.

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@Don Jefe. "...... doesn't fill a need gap......."

In a nutshell.

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Re: Clearly Not In Business

> The fact of the matter is that NFC doesn't fill a need gap

I'm going to disagree with you there, DJ. I totally see NFC as replacing RFID in many (if not all) applications.

For example, there is one real-estate idea that I'm toying about where I'll probably use NFC for access control. Those without an NFC-capable device get a plastic card, those with just use their phone.

In other words, NFC need not be *just* about payments, and on the payments front, it won't be the banks but those new payment start-ups that'll be leading the pack. Banks will fade into irrelevance a few decades from now anyway. (cf. the Hypo Alpe-Adria case in Austria right now).

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"help win over more tight-fisted consumers"

I'm not tight-fisted. However I am getting more and more paranoid about how much personal information people can leech out of those marvellous gadgets that I am surrounded with.

So, given that we have all heard the reports about how PIN code VISA is broken but remains steadfastly in use (because nothing else and too expensive to replace), I am very wary of a technology that actively broadcasts my "secure" banking data to the immediate surroundings.

And don't give me tosh about how the range is vanishingly small or whatnot - we've read right here about how supposedly secure ATMs were subverted from the inside to phone home credit card details.

If they can do that on a supposedly secure ATM machine, then they can stick a customized Raspberry PI on the backside of the card machine and none will be the wiser for weeks, if not months. Meanwhile, the crims will reap the rewards.

So no to NFC anything until I have a technological guarantee that it is unsubversible.

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Re: "help win over more tight-fisted consumers"

Then you ask the impossible. Not even CASH is foolproof (remember counterfeit notes?).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "help win over more tight-fisted consumers"

> Not even CASH is foolproof (remember counterfeit notes?).

Those used to be a constant worry of mine, you never know what you're getting. So I decided to start printing my own.

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Anonymous Coward

"Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING"

Are they not getting their usual 30% cut, then? Pity. Not.

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How can you give up on something which hasnt been released

If I could use NFC on my phone to pay, I would be quite keen on it. As far as I can tell though, it is only available on certain phones purchased from certain telcos. I have an NFC phone, but I cannot find a way to use it for NFC payments. If you want people to use a product then you need to make it available.

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Re: How can you give up on something which hasnt been released

That USED to be the case, due to the requirement for a secure element, but Android 4.4 KitKat now supports Host Card Emulation, which doesn't require it. If your phone has NFC and KitKat, Google Wallet SHOULD work for you (YMMV, I hear it's not so cut-and-dry).

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I think the BIG big obstacle isn't Apple. It's the big retailers. Walmart has sworn off the tech (because they want control), Target hasn't adopted it, neither Home Depot nor Lowe's accept it. And while I notice it's still available at Best Buy, your usual purchase there is too big to make it under the contactless transaction limits. Furthermore, many retailers are DROPPING the tech. Kroger's dropped the tech. So has 7-Eleven.

In many cases, it's a lack of trust in the technology combined with security skittishness. Besides, US retailers are in the midst of a PIN Pad refresh as banks try (again) to get us on Chip-and-PIN. Unless all the C&P have contactless built in, I would say this is the last straw for contactless in all but a few places.

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Happy

Disintermediate - Yet another word for the Bullshit Bingo list

Never came across that word before as I avoid economists with the same fervour as plague carrying rats. When did they make this one up?

Definition: removing intermediaries from a process (economics); e.g. - taking the pimp out of the process of getting screwed. Was wondering where the bonking came in.

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Re: Disintermediate - Yet another word for the Bullshit Bingo list

I used to work with someone who used the word in every single discussion.

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NFC?

That stands for No Fucking Chance I'd risk using it.

But then I have actually wrapped my contactless Barclaycard in tinfoil.

No shit.

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When Barclaycard foisted a contactless card onto me a couple of years ago I phoned them up and asked for one that didn't open up my wallet to thieves who could nick £10 from my by just walking past. Their response was that market research showed that the public liked having their money stolen invisibly and they would offer me no alternative to offering up my nuggets to random passers by.

Yes there is I said, I stop using your card to buy anything. So now it sits at home in the drawer and I only use the account to take advantage of their interest free balance transfer options.

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Interestingly, and the opposite side of the coin, when Barclaycard foisted a contactless card onto me a couple of years ago, because I hardly used the credit card (rather use my bank's debit card), I phoned up my bank to see if they could give me a contactless debit card. When told they didn't do them yet, I found my usage of the contactless credit card going up - when faced with paying for something small, I'd look at my wallet and see two cards; one which you just tap on the till and you're on your way, and the other which you slide it in, wait a second, try to remember the PIN on that card, enter it, find one of the keys doesn't work properly, re-enter it, wait a second, then you're through.

Given I often have to mash the card against the reader to make it recognise it, I think the fears about thieves being able to "nick £10 from my by just walking past" are typical tin-foil luddite views with no basis in fact.

Sure, if someone nicks your wallet, you're more exposed to small (sub-£20) losses, but I've found I can't make more than one or two contactless purchases in a short space of time before it refuses and prompts to do it the old way (PIN), and anyway, your bank is still liable for the loss if you've taken "reasonable precautions" (ie. don't leave your wallet on your dashboard) and let them know as soon as you know it's gone.

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Anonymous Coward

Analysts. heh.

“Our previous predictions were based on the assumption that the iPhone 5 would have NFC,”

And yet he still expects people to care what he thinks after that. "Yes, our last set of predictions sucked, but our new ones are really good, honest! Give me money."

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