Side note on Buffett, I thought it was interesting that he wholeheartedly supported Obama, and then Obama wholeheartedly tried to squash the Keystone Pipeline. Until the dots were connected and I realized that with no pipeline every gallon of oil and therm of gas had to be transported by Buffett's rail cars.
They haven't replaced the long haul, in fact the rail roads are handling record amounts of freight, but the drawbacks to rail are time issues and the fact that eventually all freight must be put on a truck. Trucks are best for a few hundred air mile routes and for anything that is at all time sensitive. Also, you can always get a cheaper trucker to deliver freight, they are entirely decentralized. With the rails there is little room for negotiation.
Scam for merchants or for consumers? If you're a merchant you are forced to take whatever payment methods customers want. A gas station, for example, that didn't take credit cards would have a lot of customers filling up and then complaining that they don't have any cash. If you're a consumer, credit cards are great.
At a gas station, I've seen numerous charge backs that are entirely customer's fault. For example, woman disputes credit card charges at pump because she sees two charges on one day. Come to find out after pulling pictures of vehicle and plate number, her it was her husband in his car. Or customer swipes his card at one pump, thinks card didn't process, drives to another pump swipes card again, then wonders why he has two charges.
Which is why the interchange rates for "big box" retailers are much lower than for other merchants. Interchange rates should be based on the actual transaction costs now rather than the transaction costs when credit cards were manually processed with knuckle busters.
Smaller merchants subsidize purchases at the "big box" stores.
What credit should be given to these kids who drop the major? They only wanted to be in science because they think there is money in it. Or they watched too much CSI.
It isn't bad but my service drops more and I have to power off the phone on my Motorola XT603. Still like the phone though because it is the only way to get android and PTT. What I'd love to see is a PTT app available on any android phone.
I am using a Motorola XT603 Android phone with Sprint and as I understand it the Nextel Push To Talk is going out like data. They did have "hybird" phones before that had a iden radio for push to talk and used the standard Sprint network for voice. The push to talk service is NOT as solid as on a standard iden phone, but it is decent.
This will be a tough switch because most business users are using the nextel PTT just like a two way radio that you don't need to buy repeater space for. The old motorola phones were very heavy duty. I have drivers and technicians with phones that are ten years old that have been abused and still work well.
One side note "push-to-talk" communication is the only cellular service that the Federal Motor Carrier safety Administration allows haz-mat drivers to use, provided that they are able to initiate and receive a call by pressing only one button. Hopefully Sprint doesn't screw this up. If the driver has to press anything more than one button, there is absolutely no reason for him to have a Sprint phone.
The problem is the banks don't expose themselves to anything they lay security almost 100% at the feet of the merchant. The only institutions who could create a secure system, the issuing banks and the Visa/Mastercard cartel, won't because they can blame the merchants. If they can't blame the merchants they can blame the ISO's or third party processors. Every card transaction that is swiped hits the merchants POS, then goes out on a network like Buypas and is handled by the third party processing company, then hits Visa/Mastercard and issuing bank. The merchants can't secure the system because they only have the data initially. The ISOs are on the hook if the merchant can't pay for the breach, Visa/Mastercard are not liable for anything.
And that is the reason PCI compliance is security theater. merchants can be as secure as possible, yet they are on the hook for the information once it passes out of their hands. The entities that could secure the process, Visa/Mastercard and the issuing banks, won't because they have nothing to lose because the merchants are responsible. Other than the TJ Max breach the large breaches have been third party ISOs who handle the credit card processing.
Verizon is asking that the Union members contribute to their health insurance, they contribute 0 now, and they will have to pay $80.00 per week for a full family plan.
Depending on the union contract UPS drivers have to pay for damages to their trucks, but the UPS drivers also get things like the ability to retire with a full pension and health insurance after 20 years. Now this just changed and they added that you had to be older than 57 to retire. I just had a conversation with a guy griping that he had to wait another 10 years to retire. He thought that was just not fair, I mean he was 45 and had 18 years. But he said it wasn't all bad, because he had 8 weeks of vacation a year.
As a merchant I deal with credit credit card chargebacks on a regular basis. All a customer has to say is that is not my charge. We have to send back documentation, such as proof of signature. If the charge happened at the credit card readers at our gasoline dispensers, we have no signature, and we eat the charge. We have even offered to provide the customer or issuing bank with the license plate number and picture of person and vehicle charging, but that means nothing. That is why in many locations you need to enter your zip code at a pay at the pump, this offers some security to the merchant, even though by rule the merchant still must eat the charge if the customer balks.
Now if the merchant goes tits up or goes bad and steals money from the customers credit cards and can't pay it back, then the merchant's processing ISO is on the hook. The processor isn't Visa/Mastercard or the issuing bank, it is someone like First Data or a myriad of other middle men. The processor gets as little as 3 to 6 cents a transaction, passing the interchange cost to the merchant. The merchant has paid anywhere from 50 cents a transaction to 3% for the convenience of letting a customer pay with credit.The issuing banks and the cartel of Visa/Mastercard are on the hook only if the processor goes under. And even then it is the issuing banks that deal with the customer directly and they are the only ones who can decide to credit or not credit the customer.
The problem with this system in the United States is that the entities that make money off of credit card transactions, i.e. the issuing banks, have absolutely no incentive to make the system more secure. They do none of the work, other than marketing their credit cards and profiting off of their card holders who use their cards and the merchants who accept their cards
They can't because of the PCI standards, you are required to have a secure system scan for crap etc now to be allowed to processor cards. Now not all processors are enforcing the standards some are just collecting a "non-compliance" fee every month. In addition, the issuing banks can correlate stolen credit card numbers with the merchant that they were last used properly at.