back to article McDonalds samples NFC swipe-tech in UK

McDonalds will be accepting proximity payment cards in 1,200 UK branches from this summer, though Starbucks has almost 7,000 stores lined up to accept barcodes in the USA. Starbucks' national roll-out will see Americans paying for coffee with a wave of their phone using an old technology. Meanwhile, McDonalds UK is embracing …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would expect...

    I would expect that the cost of the barcode system would be significantly less than the NFC one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      McD's have the money though

      According to Wikipedia anyway Ronald & Co have far more money to spend on it...

      Sounds good to me, it was annoying when they only took cash, at least I seem to be able to pay card now - and if all I have to do is wave my wallet at the reader while they get my food then all the better.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Mcdonalds do food now?

        They really are moving with the times!

  2. Vitani

    That's nice but ...

    ... which branches? Is there a press release with more information? I can't find anything on their website which even talks about NFC payments.

  3. Keith 21
    Dead Vulture

    ask for PIN numbers every now and then - really?

    does it really ask for their Personal Identification Number number every now and then?

    Surely you mean it asks for their PIN every now and then...

    Come on El Reg, you are techie-minded, how hard is it to avoid such nonsense? PIN number indeed. Tsk, I say!

    I don't know, the youth of today... *goes off on a rambling rant*

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They control it?

    "do ask for PIN numbers every now and then, at a random rate on which the card issuers"

    Uhm... shouldn't it be me that sets how frequently I want to enter the pin? I mean it is my device right? I would set that damned thing to ask for a PIN *every time*!

    I don't like how the CC companies still think they are in control even when running an app on my phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err, no...

      They don't let you configure the amount of times a PIN is required because:

      1) You may set it to every time, this defeats the point and would hold up the queue (not popular with the merchants)

      2) You may set it to a very high number and make it less of a threat

      3) A crim may watch you and how many times that you enter a pin, in order to work out the best time to mug you.

  5. K. Adams

    "On-screen barcodes aren't as secure as proximity payment systems..."


    Try to read that on-screen bar code through my jacket pocket.

    As for NFC security, we have seen, time and again, that radio-based payment systems are rarely as secure as the manufacturers (and the organisations that implement them) make them out to be. MiFARE was/is a perfect example of this.

    The only way to ensure your NFC device isn't remotely compromised is to:

    -- -- 1. never use it.


    -- -- 2. store it in a Faraday cage (metal mesh sleeve/wallet/box).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A barcode can be read with a camera, copying may not be that easy, but it fairly possible. However, NFC paywave type cards have not yet been cloned and it's unlikely that this will happen in the near to mid future. Paywave cards are significantly different to myfare type cards.

    2. Martin 71 Silver badge


      You can destroy the coil that does the 'contactless' communication . I have done this with my barclays debit card

    3. Paul Johnston
      Thumb Up

      Great Idea!

      Faraday cage enabled wallets!!!

      I hope you have patented that idea, if not do it right away!

      Ooops already been done!

    4. Anonymous Coward


      ...X-ray the card and drill out the chip's antenna. Job done.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    International sustenance behemoth Starbucks

    Great turn-of-phrase.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Thanks McD

    One more reason why I'll never set foot inside and of your outlets until the day I die. I refuse to call them restaurants. Serving Cardboard is not food in my book (recepie, Jamies 30 Minute Dinners variety)

    Big Mac you say? I had one once. Yep, it tasted like cardboard food wrapping. Then I vowed never to set foot in one ever again.

    Cash only me heartys.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Got there first

      McD and thier Golden Shower (sorry, Arch) are no more than snake oil merchants.

      Selling total shite to an awe-struck public who should know better than heed the voice of Phil Jupitus (hardly a model for healthy eating)

      I'll drink to that but it won't be a McD product made of air and thickeners.

    2. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down


      What a rant. McDs are probably re-thinking their entire operation to see how they can accommodate you.

      1>. Your dislike of their food is utterly irrelevant to the article.

      2>. There will be a lot of other establishments to add to your boycott list if use of NFC precludes your custom.

      3>. I re-read the article, and I'm quite sure that nowhere did they say they would stop taking cash.

      I guess this troll is more of a BK flamer man?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    London 2012

    I should think that it's mainly focused on London and the South East. There's a big drive for retailers at the moment to get wave and pay technologies implemented prior to the Olympic games. With Visa being one of the main sponsors they're pushing their payWave system and have been planning it since 2006:

  9. mfraz


    Personal Identification Number number?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      RAS syndrome.

      Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome

  10. Cunningly Linguistic

    What difference does it make...

    ...saving a couple of minutes making a payment when you have to wait at least 5 mins to get your coffee served?

    Anyway, I prefer Costa!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ditto regarding Costa

      At least theirs has some strength, and doesnt come with 3" of skin like BB's coffee, but it still grates that they charge about 300% of what it costs to make a proper coffee at home.

  11. Kingdom
    Thumb Up

    All restaurants throughout the UK are being enabled...

    ...not just London and the South East. The first installations are just underway. There was an article in the Mirror newspaper today as well.

  12. JaitcH

    "Android users aren't cool enough for Starbucks"

    Actually it's the fact that Android users only drink REAL coffee, served in containers using normal nomenclature rather than flavoured coffee dust, prepared by dubious talent and served in strangely named cups.

    As for McBarf, no technology they adapt will work in VietNam as we are fortunate enough to have NO McBarf stores here. Since the Vietnamese have a better sense of good food taste they go for fresh cooked-in-the-store juicy chicken served in KFC!

    1. Daf L


      ..the delicious and nutritious, Vietnamese equivalent - Lotteria and the infamous Cheese Shrimp Burger!

  13. Throatwobbler Mangrove

    uninformative video

    That Starbucks video is crap and uninformative. Instead of showing me (the coffee consumer who has no idea what NFC is, not the Reg reader who is probably familiar with it) smiley animations, why not show me how it actually works so I can understand WTF it is and feel more comfortable with using it.

  14. pisquee

    Burger King

    BK Leicester Square has had wireless card payments for month - the staff seemed as surprised and dubious of it all as I was - was first time I had used it, and I guess first time they had seen it used!

  15. Anonymous Coward


    "Proximity payment systems do ask for PIN numbers every now and then, at a random rate on which the card issuers will decide once the frequency of fraud is better known."

    The frequency of fraud will be zero.

    That's what the "card issuers" will claim despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      There is actually no reliable evidence that there is any fraud from chip and pin or NFC at the moment. Attacks have been demonstrated in lab environments, but there is no evidence that these are in the wild - especially as they pretty much all the current attacks require a ribon cable attached in some way to the card and the merchant not noticing or caring.

      Ross Anderson has said that he has a few people in touch with him regarding their claims of fraud on their accounts, but hasn't released any details anywhere that I have seen which can cast any light onto the reliabillity of these claims.

      Furthermore, as I keep pointing out - The banks are liable to prove the fraud is on the part of the customer, not the other way round and a PIN auth'd transaction by itself is not acceptable proof that a customer has entered that PIN, without CCTV.

      1. Harry Kay


        Still misses the point that contactless cards can be used in several outlets - Pret a Manger, Subway, etc, as well as McDonalds (Errghh!), and no doubt soon various non-food outlets too. If someone pinches your card they can still make several up to £15 purchases all over the place WITHOUT having to know your PIN - causing significant loss as well as annoyance.

        If someone simply nicks your 'stored money' card then your loss is limited to whatever was stored on the card. her the loss is potentially limited only by the content of yuor bank account!

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