Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Coming Soon? Your Cell Phone As Your ATM!

According to this item from a recent edition of Time magazine,
"Customers of ATMs long ago decided they could do without a teller. Now Steven Atkinson has a bolder idea: they can also do without the cash. His company mobileATM has developed secure software that allows cell-phone owners in Britain to check their bank balances using their handsets. That may sound trivial, but 37 banks in Britain, including First Direct (the roughly $12 billion phone and PC division of giant HSBC) and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), have approved it.

"Why? Because, says Atkinson, consumers make 150 million balance inquiries every month using 55,000 traditional hole-in-the-wall ATMs. MobileATM wants to redefine convenience. 'When you ask the question "Where is the nearest ATM?" I want the answer to be "It's in your hand," says Atkinson, who was born in 1969, the year that Chemical Bank in New York City opened the world's first modern ATM.

"If mobileATM is to provide a truly compelling service, shouldn't it also allow users to move cash around? 'You have to walk before you can run,' says Richard Kimber, chief executive of First Direct, who notes that consumers will be able to buy top-up credit for pay-as-you-go mobile phones. He also envisions a day when British commuters might be able to purchase subway rides using their mobileATM, the next step in turning your phone into your wallet."
Is this technological development a good one? My husband has lost three cell phones in that last two years. Losing a cell phone is bad enough without having to worry about the finder--or thief--using it to access a bank account.

The possibilites for abuse of the-cell-phone-as-ATM are endless. Next thing you know, your cell phone will be ripped off and used to steal your identity!


At 12/14/2005 11:19 AM, Blogger Bassizzzt said...

My daughter over in Belgium has been able to run bank access via her cell phone and also teletext, something we do not yet have.

At 12/14/2005 11:25 AM, Blogger Bassizzzt said...

We were just now discussing this here in the office - Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Denmark - all have full bluetooth access to soda/candy machines with their cellphones as well as banking access.

How old is this article, or is Britain just now getting caught up with their Euro neighbors?

At 12/14/2005 11:49 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Nice of you to stop by. I know how busy you are these days!

The article is dated December 4, 2005. I had laid it aside to blog closer to that date, but just didn't get around to it.

How the banking ATM capability been working for your daughter? Any problems you know of?

Any instances of fraud with those vending machines?

What happens if a cell phone user loses the phone?

At 12/14/2005 12:51 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

Man, if I can get cash to start comming out of my cell phone... it's all over!

At 12/14/2005 1:35 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Start piling up those fees.

Profit center for the banks, gimmick for the consumer?

At 12/14/2005 1:50 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Maybe if they also installed this voice verifier I just read (on Israel21c) that Israel has done to help the US keep track of VISA (not the credit card) holders. Otherwise, yes, it sounds to me like it could be trouble.

At 12/14/2005 2:07 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

AOW..I know this is a little off subject and I apologize but reading your post reminded me of this. Have you or any of your readers noticed the commercial where instead of being late on your credit card payment..if you make another purchase there will be no late fee. What genius thought up that idea? It seems like there's a plot to keep Americans in debt. Savings among most Americans is already at an all-time low. I can't understand the reasoning..maybe somebody who went further than macro-economics can explain it.

At 12/14/2005 2:12 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Mr. Ducky said...

Start piling up those fees.

Profit center for the banks, gimmick for the consumer?

Could not have said it better myself. I remember when ATMs were an alternative and reduced the banks overall they are nothing but a fee collector.

At 12/14/2005 2:24 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Please don't apologize. That commercial you mentioned is a related tangent.

Yes, I've seen that commercial: instead of being late on your credit card payment..if you make another purchase there will be no late fee.
As you point out, Americans are saving very little. And that commercial promotes even more irresponsible spending. Also, the implication is that many are late with their payments. What I hear when I see that commercial: "Go ahead and overextend. Go further into debt from which you can never extricate yourself. No late fees as you commit financial suicide!"

Of course, what isn't mentioned in that commercial is that the interest keeps on rolling. I've seen some studies which show what happens if one pays only the minimum payment each month. And, sad to say, some of my relatives have fallen into the credit-card trap, even to the point of opening another account when several others are maxxed out.

Many Americans are stuck on stupid as far as their individual finances are concerned.

I invite you to comment on these financial matters.

At 12/14/2005 2:36 PM, Blogger Bassizzzt said...

To add more info to my daughter's experience in Belgium, I do know that she can go to the store and use the cell phone to make purchases. Why hasn't this yet taken off here in the states?

Not to sway the topic any ~ but isn't it ridiculous that I have to tell the credit card reader in Food Lion that I speak English before it will even accept a swipe from my credit card?

At 12/14/2005 3:19 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Well, it's worse than you think AOW. The savings rate has actually gone negative. Not by a lot but that is hardly the point.

The balance of payments was announced today at nearly 70 billion. We are essentially living on the rest of the world's savings. Can't go on like that forever now can we?

I maintain that having a tax policy that promotes large deficits and shifts so much dependence on foreigners is far more dangerous than any threat Islamists pose.

Not that we shouldn't have an effective policing policy but we may even agree that our miserable savings rate is a big, big problem.

At 12/14/2005 4:57 PM, Anonymous Felis said...

"traditional hole-in-the-wall ATMs."

I still remember the times when doing business over the counter was considered traditional.
Now - that's nostalgic!

At 12/14/2005 8:00 PM, Blogger samwich said...

Hi AOW, Duck has it in a nutshell with US savings.
Control of America's industrial base and media is being sold to foriegn investors buying stocks in US companies. It's for sale to the highest bidder and we ain't at the auction.

Saudi Prince boasts control of FOX buy buying a 5.x% share. Why didn't we buy it first?

Foriegn governments and investors are buying up Treasury Bills and the power of influence over government that goes with big block purchases. It is called a "voice in policy" to insure payment.

Gun Control has paid off by giving pro business profit congressmen and senators majority control of Congress and the White house. We are suffering a mass hemmoriage of jobs to China, India, Russia and Maylasia as a result. If your job went too, thank Clinton for giving Bush's New World Order the gun laws which put Bush jr in control.

Decimation of the blue collar manufacturing base has demoted us to Wal-Mart and McDonald's wages.
Abe Lincoln said it best, "Those who injure labor commit treason".

My associates and I each watch a market group, Grains & softs, meats, energies, metals, currencies, interest rates and stock index futures.

We each pay $400 - $1000 per month for info and forecasting advice.

One guy here (whoosier) pays $3000 per month for his currency info. He makes bigger individual profits but suffers more losses on more trades too. Kinda balanced out.

My Ad agency is a political activist tool and defunct unless some election is coming up. I do consult commercially but pick and choose because I don't need the money ($125 hr). Republicans will not retake Washington State US Senate seats or Utah's second Congressional District. We good!

I've got mine and as much as I hate republicans do feel that "everyone should have as much as I have" instead of the much more detested democrat's attitude that "nobody should have that much" (the only thinbg I hate worse than a repub is a dem, the only thing I hate worse than a dem is two of them).

Cell phone technology has it's achilles heels and the engineers know them. Less than honest engineers sell the info on how to use and abuse the technology. Cell phone id theft is already a business.

Her's a trick I use to minimize losses in a grain trade, I enter one delivery month "long" (buy) and a later delivery month "short"
(sell before buying in hopes of a decline) As I ride the fluctuations I exit with profit when profit is on the board, just like today's report. (and yes you may forward it).

Bottom line, we are mortgaging control of our financial future to foriegn lenders.


At 12/14/2005 8:13 PM, Blogger samwich said...

Also, cash is being treated by most folks as a possession with "status" and the "means" to an end of some pleasurable status symbol or activity including eating.
When you look at your dollars as employees whose duty is to return a profit your "consumerism" focus changes to investmentism. The law of the harvest will prevail, plant seeds in fertile soil and reap a profitable crop. Blow your money on cell phone minutes so you can tune out the world by staying connected to your human security blanket and you'll spend your old age on social security's pittance and your billing company will know everything about you.


At 12/14/2005 9:28 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Start piling up those fees.

Profit center for the banks, gimmick for the consumer?

Absolutely! So, you and I have agreed three times in one day.

our miserable savings rate is a big, big problem.
That makes FOUR points of agreement!

so much dependence on foreigners is far more dangerous than any threat Islamists pose
Going for five points now, though I'm not sure that "more dangerous" are the words I'd use. "More insidious" would be my choice of words--and certainly more far-reaching.

BTW, I'm finally reading that book you mentioned, the one about economics: Day of Reckoning. Thanks for the recommendation.

At 12/14/2005 9:32 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

A pretty ugly analysis you've got there. Inevitable fall of the United States as a financial power?

This, too, is an often overlooked point: your billing company will know everything about you.

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comments.

At 12/14/2005 9:37 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I have no fondness for cell phones. But I did find the cell phone very useful when my father was in his last days. And he found the cell phone useful too: it gave him security to know that he could run his errands, could always be reached, and could call 911 or a tow truck, if the need arised. He also could call me at work. My classroom was the furthest from the office, and my last employer was terrible about delivering messages to us teachers.

But using a cell phone to transact banking business and to make payments? Not for me! In fact, I hardly ever talk on the cell phone.

On the other hand, some people have the cell phone stuck in their ear all the time. I don't understand that.

At 12/14/2005 9:42 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I still remember the times when doing business over the counter was considered traditional.
I've only recently learned how to use an ATM.

For a short time, I worked as a bank teller, back in 1972. We were all very excited when we heard that our bank would soon be getting an "automatic teller." We didn't call it ATM yet. Anyway, once the ATM's came along, the number of tellers decreased.

Slightly different subject...Here in the States, we've had a few crazy individuals steal, or try to steal, ATM's. Usually the stories have an amusing ending, but not always.

At 12/14/2005 11:05 PM, Blogger samwich said...

AOW: Sorry it looks like an "ugly analysis". It's just a summarized statement of the facts.

"on the other hand, some people have the cell phone stuck in their ear all the time. I don't understand that".

Too insecure to go through life with out a crutch. A human security blanket on the other end of the conversation.

At Boeing about once each week the general stupidvisor would come out to the supervisor's morning crew meeting and warn that he did not want to see two women walking to the restroom together. He demanded they grow up enough to walk to the potty alone.

Most people cannot bear aloneness.
Few, like me, find the solitude companionable.


At 12/15/2005 4:14 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Like all things new there will be unexpected problems. I am somewhat alarmed that police can check the speed of your car if a cell phone .

The situation in Northern VT is silly. I get followed about once a week and pulled over about every other week.

At 12/15/2005 7:30 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Don't apologize for your analysis. The economic realities of indebtedness and outsourcing are ugly. In other words, this truth is ugly. What made your analysis so ugly was the comprehensive summary in such a short space.

I am an only child, so aloneness doesn't bother me. I see a difference between aloneness and loneliness. For example, I feel a certain loneliness since my parents died (1987, 1998)--we were so close. As adults, we were best friends.

I know what you mean about women traipsing to the restroom in a herd. I don't understand that either! Teachers tend not to go to the restroom in a herd because of classroom coverage. Having to tell women to "go to the potty" alone is ludicrous, but I'm sure your Boeing tale is true.

Yesterday I saw a woman at a bus stop talking on a cell phone. Nothing unusual about that--except that she was swaddled like a mummy with barely her eyes visible (extrememly cold here). She had the cell phone pressed to the outside of her cap and was talking through the scarf wrapped around her face. I had to laugh.

At 12/15/2005 7:49 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

police can check the speed of your car if a cell phone
I didn't know that! I've warned my husband. On a nice day, that convertible top comes down on the Mustang, and he hauls.

The situation in Northern VT is silly. I get followed about once a week and pulled over about every other week.
Those out-of-town plates, right? Small-town officers in the rural South do the same thing.

At 12/15/2005 8:36 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

G has posted an article about economics @

At 12/15/2005 12:53 PM, Blogger samwich said...

Global Positioning Transponders:
Newer cell phones have GPS transponders built in. Newer expensive cars, like my Suburban have GPS transponders (GM's Onstar)
Law enforcement has access with little restriction to the data collected. Your gps shows your location, direction of travel and the time to cover the distance reveals your speed. Rental vehicles have GPS and a clause in the rental contract add $150 surcharge for each infraction over the posted speed limit. One poor soul got a $450 surcharge for 3 overspeeds of 5 mph. He claimed they were short downhill coasts but to no avail. His credit card had been billed and the rental agency refused to refund the surcharges.

About 10 years ago at Boeing
Everett, WA an inspector rejected a customer supplied 747 life raft. Another employee took the life raft without authority and went river rafting on the Philchuk River. Half an hour into the raft ride a US Coast Guard Helicopter showed up in response to the GPS emergency deployment signal. OOOPPPSSS. The employee was fired and prosecuted for theft of customer property. His 401K was wiped out and his family lost their home due to loss of employment and income and recovery for the Coast Guard rescue costs.

The National Security Agency listens to all cell phone, telephone and computer communications in an effort to discover criminal activity. The computers which listen in are programmed to "hear" key words and phrases and identify "lame" codes.
Once a "red flag communication" has been ID'd you get a wire tap with a human listneing in.


At 12/24/2005 10:45 AM, Blogger Storm said...

Reminds me of the scifi movies where people cuts hands or eyes out for scanners.

The problem with wireless is obvious, the ability to hack in is much easier. There are firewalls but generally the systems are configured for easy plug and play and therefore few safeguards. Recently my wife got a laptop (early Christmas gift). She set it up in our living room and bingo someone else wireless net nearby gave her sufficient access to go online.

ID Thefts occur 4 major ways

1) yours a physical crime break in etc although homes are rare--aggresive attack

2) trash and mail--passive attack

3)hacking and other electronic tech--can be passive or aggressive

4)employees who have our info

I would be more afraid of the girl at the kiosk making $8 per hour selling the headset than using the headset

Sorry for the delay tis the season for using someone's credit card to finish one's holiday shopping

At 12/26/2005 9:44 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

You know the ins-and-outs of identity theft. Thank you so much for posting this comment.

Coincidentally, I just found a newspaper article about mall kiosks. I haven't thoroughly read the article, but as I skimmed it, I think that it is a positive article about how hard immigrants work in the kiosks.

I will be featuring your comment at my blog when I discuss the newspaper article.

For the record: I rarely use mall kiosks, and when I do, I always pay by cash. I guess my woman's intution has paid off.

As to computer connections, I'm on primitive dial-up and don't have wireless. Thank you for noting that firewalls do not always provide the protection which they advertise.

I've heard that it's perfectly legal to use someone else's wireless net. I found the fact that one can tap into another's wn very alarming. Again, just intuition.

At 12/27/2005 7:57 AM, Blogger Storm said...

Technology certainly has made it easier than ever for fraud to take place. The sad thing is we as know almost nothing about our financial system and our governments schools spend valuable educational time on teaching people how to feel and tolerance. Meanwhile a small group of people wrecks havoc. The worst part is the amount of terrorist funding that comes from some of the scams.

For the rest of your readers do not limit the scope to kiosks. The term was both generally and specifically. I mean all people that you had your credit card, check or ssn to that includes restaurants, gas stations, etc.

Many cases start with misplaced purses.

At 12/27/2005 8:13 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I won't limit the post just to kiosks, then. I'll use the kiosks as a starting point and go from there to make the points you have here.

The post will have to wait until my mother-in-law leaves tomorrow to return to CA. She has Alzheimer's and is a sundowner, so we have to watch her carefully. I'll also have to inspect her suitcase before she leaves.

If you want me to include additional info, post it here or email me with links.

I appreciate your input on the serious matter of identity theft. Thanks!


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