It’s time to sign up for another lot of self-improvement or to be precise adult education class. This time, in my ongoing quest to embarrass myself in as many different environments as possible, it’s ballet for adult beginners. What was really shocking about
this though wasn’t the idea of me in a tutu, it’s what happened when, after queuing in person to pay for the course, I brought out my credit card.
The learning centre, which will remain nameless, has just installed a brand new payment system to improve its particular payments problem – huge queues to pay three days a year and nothing much else the rest of the time. It’s magstripe based.
No signature or cvv either.
“That’s rather retro,” I said to the person taking the booking. “Didn’t I have to put my PIN in last time I booked for something?”
She shrugged. “We just check the card address against the address you give us,” she said.
I wonder how much fraud they get. You can’t flog a basket weaving course down the pub. If you do fraudulently book a ballet class on someone else’s card, massively thighed men in tights will be waiting for you when you turn up for the first class.
All of which reminded me of something one of our principal consultants, Anthony Pickup, wrote about recently on the Consult Hyperion blog about how payments are like broadcasting – sometimes you want a camera man and a dedicated transmission link (EMV),
other times Skype and an iPad will do just fine (QR codes and mobile apps).
There are other metaphors available – articulated lorries when you need a moped, nuclear weapons when a catapult will do, a full corps de ballet at the office party. Different systems for different needs, in other words. It sounds like the local adult education
centre has figured that out – now perhaps we can apply that to the question of whether we need EMV in the secure element for low value mobile payments.