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French Town Tests Cashless Society 302

Posted by Zonk
from the didn't-know-you-could-drive-a-city dept.
SamiousHaze writes to mention a Silicon.com article about an attempt in a French tourist town, Caen, to do away with cash in some locales. From the article: "Among [the locations in the trial] is an underground car park; the town hall; a bus stop which can transmit timetable information; a cinema poster which downloads video trailers to users' mobiles; a local supermarket, where people can pay for their groceries with a mobile phone, and a tourist information sign outside the historic Abbaye des Hommes. By touching the mobile against the 'Flytag' logo at each of these locations, users can pay for services or receive information straight to their phone."
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French Town Tests Cashless Society

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  • by Dynamoo (527749) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:58PM (#15197902) Homepage
    Normandy isn't a town - it's a whole region. I suspect many Normans regard it as a country in it's own right (bloody Vikings). Specifically, the article mentions Caen (which is a city).

    Now, Caen is an interesting place. It's hardly a sleepy backwater - it's the busiest urban centre in the area. (And the traffic is awful). It's actually a very modern, thriving city that was rebuilt after being almost completely destroyed in the aftermath of the D-Day invasion in 1944 (even most of the pretty bits are actually restoration of the original buldings). I'd suggest that of all the places I've been to in France, Caen is certainly one of the top runners when it comes to modernity.

    Also, the French are pretty keen on their plastic and were early adopters of payment cards and related technologies. So.. it'll be interesting to see how this experiment pans out because it's being carried out in more-or-less ideal conditions.

    • Swindon, a town in Wiltshire, tried this about 10 years ago. Mondex was the name of the scheme: people could pay for buses and goods in shops using cards they pre-charged with cash. It failed for one reason: people saw no reason to pay for cash (you had to pay for a Mondex card).
      • There's a big drive from Maestro (Those responsible for most debit cards. Also known as Cirrus. Associated to MasterCard) to get more people to pay for small things by plastic. Leeds train station is full of ads.

        The problem? Transaction fees mean it's pointless vendors accepting them for anything less than about £3.50. To make matters worse, not everywhere accepts Solo, which is an extremely popular variety of Maestro.

        I would love to pay for things totally with plastic. Money goes into my bank account
    • by Creedo (548980) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:08PM (#15199127) Journal
      Damn, man, have you ever tried to move a tank through Caen? You have to keep rebuilding bridges, and blowing up gates. It's a real PITA. Helps if you have a covert ops, though.
  • Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taskforce (866056) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:58PM (#15197903) Homepage
    I read the headline thinking it might be some kind of experiment into anti-materialist anarchism... then up on reading the summary I realised that by "cashless" they meant "physically cashless, so you don't have anything that can be traded for goods and services if they decide to pull your card".

    Somewhat different I must say.

    • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JediTrainer (314273) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:43PM (#15198363)
      physically cashless, so you don't have anything that can be traded for goods and services if they decide to pull your card

      Sounds more and more like a real-life version of PayPal, right? The scary part is when they arbitrarily (and unilaterally) decide to freeze your funds and make it next to impossible to get them back, even if you did nothing wrong.
    • "...physically cashless, so you don't have anything that can be traded for goods and services if they decide to pull your card"."

      Isn't this something we presently today call at credit card??? Maybe more accurately, American Express? You use the card, in at EOM you pay it off in full.

      Why the hell would I want to put this on my cell phone? I will much more easily lose that rather than my wallet with drivers license, credit cards and chicks phone numbers in it....and even occasionally cash.

      This thin

  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <.valuation. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:59PM (#15197916)
    Even if it isn't the government-sancationed variety. I don't know of too many people that would willingly create a transaction record of payments for various of their habits.
    • Even if it isn't the government-sancationed variety. I don't know of too many people that would willingly create a transaction record of payments for various of their habits.
      At least here in the US virtually everyone does, via their ATM cards - whether they realize it or not.
      • "At least here in the US virtually everyone does, via their ATM cards - whether they realize it or not."

        How do you figure? They don't know what you do with the $$'s after you leave the ATM.

        Just curious, how would they trace what you did with it legal or no?

  • Loss of privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:59PM (#15197919)
    Talk about opportunities for loss of privacy. In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions. Everything would be accounted for. Maybe it is one of those things where if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about, but still. I'd like to keep the option of paying my dealer^H^H^H^H^Hbookie^H^H^H^H^Hfriend without some kind of electronic trail.

    -matthew
    • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:3, Informative)

      by wfberg (24378)
      In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions.

      Except for digicash [acm.org]. (Sadly, the company folded.. No government or corporation really stands to benefit from secure anonymous electronic cash, just private citizens/consumers.
    • This would only become a problem when they start banning cash transactions. Maybe somebody cried wolf when credit cards are introduced, but most people are okay with it.

      Furthermore, if you will, your dollar bills have unique serial numbers attached to it, so whoever spends the dollar bill can be traced. If you want to be paranoid, you could use gold transactions. However, gold can be traced by its mineral content to the mine. Depending on your purpose, this may still be a problem.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Furthermore, if you will, your dollar bills have unique serial numbers attached to it, so whoever spends the dollar bill can be traced.

        How, exactly, could this be accomplished? The teller doesn't keep a record of who got what bills, nor do the grocers, nor my barber, nor my bartenders.

        Now, when they imbed RFID chips in all your money that would be easy to understand, but please enlighten me as to how serial numbers can be used to track you?
    • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xiroth (917768) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:10PM (#15198038)
      This would definitely create a niche for banks which specialise in short-lifespan Swiss-style anonymous accounts that are easy to create and allow easy transfer of control (by giving a card or something). Unfortunately that anonymity could be legislated out of existance by government regulation for security purposes, so you'd need the banks to be in nations with a good track record of allowing privacy.
    • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:15PM (#15198082) Journal
      Do you actually use cash in this day and age? About the only time I use cash is when I am buying a sandwich or a coffee at lunch time, or when I am getting a drink in a pub and cards charge too much per transaction for it to be available (why credit cards have a minimum commission I will never understand. It surely can't cost them much to move a small number from one location to another, and those 50p transactions add up to large numbers very quickly).

      For private payments I always use direct bank transfers; that way I have a record that I've already paid, and it's less effort since I can do it anywhere I have an Internet connection, while cash requires me to find a cash machine.

      • You are the type of person I have the resist the urge to stab in the back of the head with a spoon every time I'm trying to get my lunch and everyone ahead of me is taking 2-3 minutes apiece for credit card verification to buy a bag of cheetos.
        • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ahnteis (746045)
          Where do you shop that a credit/debit card takes 2+ minutes?

          I live in a fairly small town and it takes about 10 seconds. Much faster then waiting for you to find those last 3 pennies.
        • 2-3 minutes per transaction? Do you live in a place where you have to walk fifteen miles to use a phone? If you look out the window, are there farms on three sides of whereever you're sitting?

          Cash barely touches my hands anymore. I work four days out of the week. My paycheck is automagically deposited in my bank account every friday morning at about four AM. They even split it among my checking and savings nicely. I buy lunch with my plastic. We visit a variety of establishments in various forms of (dis)
          • It's downtown new york city. The pharmacy and restauraunts in the lobby take that long, the company cafeteria is a little better (credit cards, no employee debit deal). I usually just find the nearest indian or chinese hole-in-the-wall where they still accept beads and trinkets. A lot quicker, even with the extra walking.
            • There will come a day, I'm sure, where we all will be trading in beads and trinkets again.

              Probably won't get the kind of deals we did way back when Manhattan was green and leafy, though.
        • The amount of time it takes me to process an atm/credit transaction is easily still much faster than the time it takes the average cashier to count out change.
      • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordNimon (85072) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:36PM (#15198295)
        Do you actually use cash in this day and age?

        All the time. My minimum for credit card purchases is $20, and I never write checks unless I have to.

        • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SenorCitizen (750632)
          Do you actually use cash in this day and age?

          All the time. My minimum for credit card purchases is $20, and I never write checks unless I have to.

          A better question would be - you write cheques? You *have* cheques? What the hell for?

          I remember my dad used to use cheques in the 80's, and he was considered old-fashioned.

          • Re:Loss of privacy (Score:3, Informative)

            by mgblst (80109)
            Must be in the UK, they love cheques over here. I hadn't seen a cheque for about 10 years before coming over here.

            As to those people who don't use cash, I hate waiting behind you in the supermarket - especially the 3 items of less line. Can't even carry around £5. If they made it instantaneous, fine - but wasting any more time than is necessary really gets to me.
      • I've taken to using cash for everything again (or cheques for things you post). It's a nice feeling; everything is simple again. There's no signing, no PIN-ing, no getting your card confused with your fellow diners' at the restaurant.
      • I use cash everywhere I can to avoid identity theft and profiling. Every place you leave a receipt with your credit card number on it is an opportunity for someone to steal money from you.

        I also am adverse to data mining. I hate push advertising and don't want to be bothered by people who think that I might purchase some crap I don't want based on something else I purchased.

        All in all, using cash is about freedom and security to me, and I think it's worth the inconvenience.
      • You seem to be missing the point. The point is not how often you use cash...the point is that for the most part it is an anonymous payment system. A direct transfer is not.

        • You seem to be missing the point. The point is not how often you use cash...the point is that for the most part it is an anonymous payment system. A direct transfer is not.

          There is a more sinister aspect to it, even if you are not a completely paranoid conspiracy theorist. Money is a piece of paper. Once upon a time it was a receipt for a certain quantity of a precious substance, like gold or silver, but chances are that's no longer the case where you live. But at least it's still a piece of paper. Peopl

    • Talk about opportunities for loss of privacy. In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions. Everything would be accounted for.

      All you would need is a mechanism for buying a disposable and untraceable temporary debit card. If your bank has a pile of $100 debit cards with no name associated, and they can hand you one without them swiping the number of which one was pulled out of the box, then you would have privacy in a cashless society. All that would be necessary would
    • Talk about opportunities for loss of privacy. In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions.

      Huh? What? If you are that concerned about invasion of privacy, you could always barter.

      People do it all the time. Swaping dvds, hard ward bits and peices, pokemon cards, and lord knows what else...
  • ...for now there will exist databases which will show exactly where you were, when and what you were doing.

    The State will be able to access these databases when it feels compelled to do so.

    We were afraid of the State, 1984-like, maintaining huge databases, monitoring us all.

    Instead, we have private companies maintaining these databases and the State accesses them when it needs to.

    Either way, we have sacrificed true freedom for convenience - and we have done so without ANY meaningful public discourse upon th
    • Instead, we have private companies maintaining these databases and the State accesses them when it needs to.

      Either way, we have sacrificed true freedom for convenience - and we have done so without ANY meaningful public discourse upon the matter.


      If so then this is a hypocritcal statement. All three of those record the transactions that you preform with them.
    • "We were afraid of the State, 1984-like, maintaining huge databases, monitoring us all.

      "We - all of us, States, citizens, one and all - are not in control of the direction (I can't say decisions, because deliberate choice is not occuring) our society is taking."

      I think a better analogy is Brave New World instead of 1984. We are creating a society where those in power are ensnaring us because of the innate human tendency to seek comfort and convenience.

      We choose this state of affairs because it makes sense t
    • This is deeply worrying and ultimate stems from television, which is responsible for the lack of meaningful public discourse in our society.

      It's not so much television as it is what's on television. i.e. soul sucking, brain rotting, lowest common denominator programming. It's only a matter of time before three syllable words become extinct on broadcasted media. But hey, that's evolution in action!
  • Why Cellphone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:00PM (#15197931)

    I don't want to get a 700+ phonebill each month for my expenses, I would never consider my cellphone Provider as my banking service. (because they en effect become your "banking service" if you only use your cellphone)

    Proton [vub.ac.be] has been around for a decade in Belgium already with the same philosophy. It's very convenient, and you can almost use it everywhere and where I can't I use my Credit Card.

    • Mobile costs in Europe are considerably lower than the US rates, from what I have been able to gather. Sure, the networks screw you for international roaming - but less than the US, but, for example, I get 360 minutes a month free to any network, fixed or mobile, for about 50 USD.

      Steve
      • I used to pay 0.25EUR/minute and 0.12EUR/SMS here in Belgium,
        until I went to an "unlimited" plan where you pay a fixed 25EUR for "unlimited" communication within the same provider. You get about 30hours a week calltime and unlimited SMSes.

        Since I've got my gf a subscription as well we're paying 700%-800% less each month.

        But I still don't like the idea my cellphone provider just billing me for every transaction I do. I have the bank for that.
        • I don't think you understand how to calculate precent reductions. Let me show you:

          OA=Old Amount
          NA=New Amount

          Your savings, expressed as a percentage according to the commonly accepted definition is:

          100 * (OA - NA) / OA

          Assuming both amounts are positive, this percentage will be less than 100.
  • What are the thieves are going to do if the unsuspecting tourists are cashlesss? Inspector Clouseau will have to find a new job! Maybe run for president to save the Republic from itself?!
  • What about (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:01PM (#15197939)
    strip clubs? Where do you swipe your debit card?
  • 200 people in a village in France test this "cashless society" - no cash itself, just pay with a mobile phone.

    At least 250 million people in US, Europe, Asia, use widely credit cards, and don't need to use cash.

    Probably giving a tip with a mobile phone is not essentially different from giving a tip with a credit card either...
  • Interesting irony. Debit and credit cards were used to stop burglars from taking your cash, but right now the electronic frauds are becoming popular so it's MUCH EASIER for someone to steal your identity (and then buy goods using your money) than to steal your cash.

    Now suppose a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, who knows) took out the power lines. How will you buy the goods you need?
    • Now suppose a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, who knows) took out the power lines. How will you buy the goods you need?
      You are obviously new to this whole disaster thing. The solution is simple: With a brick and a mob!
      • Now suppose a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, who knows) took out the power lines. How will you buy the goods you need?


        You are obviously new to this whole disaster thing. The solution is simple: With a brick and a mob!


        Meanwhile in the front cashier, "-- those will be one brick and a mod of 10 people. Thank you, and have a nice day".
    • by powerlord (28156) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#15198265) Journal
      Oddly enough, if the power is out, having cash may, or may not, help you.

      I was in New York City during the blackout a few years ago. I had cash, on the other hand there wasn't much you could do with it.
      Some restaurants were open, but most were closed (no workers, no lights, no ability to ring up registers).
      The major stores (supermarkets and the like) were closed. No registers, no lights, no refridgeration.

      Good luck finding a taxi ... the streets were crowded and the traffic lights were out as well, but I suppose you could go somewhere by taxi.

      All in all, the only store I know of that was open and doing business was the local hardware store, and the only thing they were selling was batteries.

      Face it, our society has already become so dependant on electricity that in a lot of cases, if the power is out, having money may not help, there might be bigger issues to worry about.
  • It'll fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by igb (28052) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:05PM (#15197978)
    Just like Mondex failed. ian
    • Re:It'll fail (Score:2, Insightful)

      by doofusclam (528746)
      Just like Mondex failed.


      Probably. I lived in Swindon (UK) when they were trialing it ~10 years ago and it was crap, though to be fair this was mainly down to the implementation. It took 20 seconds for it to take your money on the bus, as you can imagine with loads of passengers waiting it was a bit irritating.

      I only ever used it in anger when Mackenzies Bar were offering 1/2 price drinks if you paid with Mondex...
      • I live in Swindon too and decided not to get a card when it transpired that they were planning to charge for the use. Not a great amount, sure, but...

        Hmm. Let me think? Charge me to spend my own money? I should coco.
  • Euros Merci (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:07PM (#15197991)
    Great, now how is this guy [yimg.com]going to afford his lifestyle?
  • silly me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:08PM (#15197999) Homepage
    When I read the article, I immediately thought that the town was going back to a bartering system.
    • When I read the article, I immediately thought that the town was going back to a bartering system.

      They will - The first time the power goes out for any decent span and suddenly an entire town realizes with horror that they have no tokens of their economy with which to trade.


      I'll stop using cash the day people lose that glint in their eyes on seeing a Krugerrand. Until then, even if "they" force me to make all my on-the-books purchases electronically, they'll see nothing more detailed about my buying
  • Panhandling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maddash1946 (969486) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:08PM (#15198001)
    I wonder what this will do to the beggar population in that town. I've notice that I almost never carry cash anymore and as such I have no money to give to beggars.
  • by slcdb (317433) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:10PM (#15198036) Homepage
    "Aw crap! My wallet's battery just died."
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:10PM (#15198041) Homepage
    The legal tender system was created in order to unify a medium of exchange for goods and services. The money moving businesses were an unfortunate growth from that invention. (Money moving such as savings, checking, loaning and related services) But if monetary value exists without portable and anonymous tokens, then you really have to TRUST the value managers and the systems it operates from. If a government (assuming the controlling entity is official government... if it's not, it soon will be) or a ranking official of a government decided someone was to be harmed for some reason, it would then be [more] trivial to strip a person of their assets and means of survival. Forget about cancelling credit/debit cards and freezing bank accounts, once they strip you of cash, there is no longer any way out.

    That makes people EXTREMELY vulnerable to abuse by the system. (And if I hear "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be afraid" crap again, I'm going to throw a chair! "wrong" is always defined by whoever is in power and always a subjective notion. It's "wrong" to kill innocent people... unless your president orders it... hrm...)

    The cashless system will work as nicely as expected, but the tests will not include the abuse that can and will happen.
  • "By touching the mobile against the 'Flytag' logo at each of these locations, users can pay for services or receive information straight to their phone."

    Cashless society for those that can afford cell phones!
  • I mostly welcome all of this, though with the odd privacy concern here and there. However, the one thing I have a problem with is that the card payment and mobile payments systems are privately owned.

    In most countries, in fact in all that I can think of, the currency is controlled by the state. If I pay for something using a five pound note, I'm guaranteed that note is acceptable anywhere in the UK. Due to differing debit card systems, rates charged to retailers and just general availability, the same can

  • Been and done (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:24PM (#15198169) Homepage Journal
    I think it was Swindon, in the UK, that tried the Mondo cashless card over a decade ago. The card actually held the electronic cash, so that absolutely nothing went to or from any kind of central database. This had the massive advantage that it was extremely private. It had better privacy than cash, as there were no serial numbers or denominations involved. The cards used public key encryption and although I believe they never used long keys due to problems in generation, they were quite capable of handling keys equal to the strongest PGP/GnuPG can support today.


    To me, this is the kind of electronic cash that should be the future. Total privacy, total anonymity, total freedom to use your own money as and how you like, absolute security against identity theft through reckless banks or merchants, hard limits to card misuse if stolen (and none of it attributable to you), relatively proof against electronic attacks such as keystroke monitors and viruses.


    So why aren't these cards in widespread use? Merchants don't like extra card readers if no customers have the cards. Customers don't want cards they can't use. Neither like systems where most faults can be pinned on them and not the vendor. Banks hate systems that keep cash in the hands of consumers, as they make a lot of money speculating on the side (even in countries they're not strictly allowed to, they just do it overseas). Governments hate it because they can't track individuals and freezing accounts has less impact when you can carry a small fortune in your wallet.


    The problem, then, is social and not technical. The French experiment uses inferior technology, for the purpose of satisfying some of the social requirements at the cost of placing all parties at greater risk.


    (For some reason, humanity has all the attributes commonly associated with lemmings, when it comes to technology and risk. Given the choice of inferior products with greater risk, or superior products with little or no risk, societies always choose the inferior path.)

    • Re:Been and done (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jtheletter (686279)
      Given the choice of inferior products with greater risk, or superior products with little or no risk, societies always choose the inferior path.

      While your observation seems to be generally true it completely ignores the reason for this behavior, which usually somes down to cost & convenience. Society is not choosing the riskiest and most inferior path because that is somehow a Good Thing, it "chooses" these paths because the riskier/inferior option is often cheaper and/or more convenient. That is the

  • With all the massive credit card debt here, and everybody I know never has any money, I guess you could say we've got a cashless society here too!
  • Cash...What's that? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IDontLinkMondays (923350) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:46PM (#15198397)
    I'm an American that lives in Norway. Since moving here 7 years ago, I don't recall using cash very much at all, much to my son's dismay. He likes to jingle my pockets for change to put in his piggy bank, but I have to make special stops to get change for him to avoid disappointing him.

    I am a person that never has an empty savings account but regularly keeps my spending account low to avoid spending too much. See it's nice to have a reminder that you're blowing all your dough. I don't go to the ATM machine, so I never know what my balance is. Simply put, if there's no money in the account when I try to pay for something, I pick up my phone, push a few buttons, pay for what I need and I'm cautious for the rest of the month.

    Since leaving the states, I no longer have a checkbook. All my bills (except my AMEX) is on autopay. I would put the AMEX that way too, but I'd like to see how much I'm spending on it.

    The office I used to work in has a coke machine that was payable by telephone and I've even paid for train tickets using my phone as well.

    As for cash, the only time I use it is when I'm paying the maid or paying the car wash that is run by people that would prefer to fly below the radar.

    What I'm really trying to say is that Norway has been more or less a cashless society for several years now. Of course people still use cash, I know a lot of older people that still don't feel comfortable with the idea of everything being done with plastic, but it's an option which is nice to leave open to them. Cash has some benefits.

    As for the experience in France, well, I see it as publicizing something that is not that interesting. It sounds as if they're just testing to see if telephone payment is an option. Personally I hate that idea since there are many times my telephone battery dies and I'd be stranded. Can you imagine not being able to pay for a taxi because you forgot to charge your battery?

    As for America, well it's a long time before this modern world ever gets there. There's a tremendous amount of money made by the banks on bounced check fees and even worse, "Overdraw attempt fees" on using your check cards. I mean, come on, if the money isn't in the bank and the bank and the store knows it there on the spot, it's the store that should penalize you, not the bank. And having worked at a banking clearing house, I wrote a report generator for producing an account of three things on one report.
        1) How much money was lost due to bounced checks
        2) How much money was made from overdraw fees that were later corrected by the account holder
        3) How much of a difference was there between the two.
    The number was always positive and not by small margins. I ran this script many many many times because I simply couldn't believe the numbers coming out. In one case, I printing a 60 page report of this activity over a single week and tallied it manually to ensure that what I was calculating was in fact correct. It's unbelievable. The American banking system is dependant on these overdraw fees and will never separate with them. So as long as that's the case, removing classic style paper based money and checks is out of the question.

  • Now we have to deal with bums on the corner acosting us and asking "Hey buddy, can you give me 10 Francs for a cup of coffee?" Listen... if you can afford cell phone service, you can afford to buy your own damn coffee!

    But seriously, the major flaw in the scheme is that it assumes EVERYBODY is ready, willing, and able to buy into it. I for one don't wish to buy my 6 year old a mobile just so she can buy lunch at school. Sure, nobody can steal your lunch money without being traced... but they CAN steal your


  • I would think with unemployment sky rocketing in France, that many French towns world be accustomed to a
    cashless society.
  • Is the NFC system that they are talking about a true digital cash implementation? There are solutions to the digital cash problem [eff.org] that allow security and protect privacy, but all I have ever seen are credit or debit systems. Can anyone here explain what they are doing?
    • NFC is many things (see http://nfc-forum.org/ [nfc-forum.org]), but one of the things it does is that it enables your cell phone to masquerade a contactless credit card. A contactless credit card is pretty much the same as a regular credit card, except that instead of a magnetic stripe it is using a way more complicated (and secure) protocol to authenticate itself to a reader device.

      NFC also allows your cell phone to be a reader/writer device, though if you do not have the correct software, keys, and authorization in plac
  • After taxes, credit cards, $4 gasoline, whose has cash left? :-)
  • This seems to have more to do with delivery of information and advertising to personal electronic devices than being cashless. I'm already cashless, using debit/credit cards for all purchases except those I wish to hide from my wife. She would ask what my $100 purchase at the computer store was about, but be less likely to question my need for a new video card (a need that she wouldn't understand if it were explained anyway).

    I've also seen how "encouraging" people to go cashless acts as a regressive tax o
  • by Shads (4567)
    ... cyberpunk cred sticks heh.
  • OK, how do you buy a mobile phone?

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