Oct 292014

If you have been following the tech news over the past month you may have heard all about something called Apple Pay.  In a nutshell, Apple Pay is a near contact payment way of using your iPhone6, 6+/Watch to pay for something using your credit card, but without actually using your credit card.  Here is basically how it works.

Add a credit card to the Passbook app on your device.

When you pay at a store that accepts Apple Pay, simply hold the device near the reader, using your fingerprint as the passcode.  The reader gets the info and processes the payment.  (There is a bit more so go to the link for more details).

By use of something called a security token, the transaction does not record your credit card info.  The token travels the inter webs from the merchant to the bank and back to process the payment.  Nobody, including the merchant, Apple, nor anyone nosing around, knows anything about the transaction other than the amount, location, and date.  The merchant does not have any information about you, who you are, where you live, your age, income, buying preferences, nothing.  And that is where the fun begins.

Many merchants including wally mart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Panera Bread are not adopting Apple Pay.  The reasons most of them give are that they have a competing payment plan in the works, CurrentC.  Rumor has it, CurrentC is not near as secure as Apple Pay, extremely buggy, and unlike Apple Pay, allows the merchants to glean all that juicy data from you every time you buy something.  And that last part is what the kerfuffle is all about.

Corporations, merchants, and retailers have adopted a very disturbing trend over the last few years.  When you come to their establishments and spend money, they assume ownership of you.  They have taken it upon themselves that because you have spent money with them, that they now have the right to use whatever data they can get from you to get you to come back to buy more.  They use many techniques to do this.  You may know some of them.  Loyalty programs, email lists, points, buy ten and the 11th one is free.  They all sound so nice.  Come back and spend more money with us and you will actually save money!  No really.  That is what they want you to believe.  And it’s all a bunch of bullshit.

We have two main grocery chains in Florida, Publix and Winn Dixie.  Many years ago, Winn Dixie started a rewards card program.  Fill out one of their forms with the usual information and get a special card that gives you the discounts that the other masses don’t get.  It caused a lot of grief and many, like myself went over to the Publix side as they don’t do anything like that.

Other stores do similar things.  If I go to Kmart or Sears they always ask if I have a loyalty card, which I don’t.  The more aggressive cashiers, of which there are very few, try to foist one upon me.  I refuse.  Once, not too long ago, I went in to Kmart to buy a small tool for all of $3.  The cashier would not sell it too me unless I gave her my birthdate.  I refused and did not buy the tool.

You may look at all this as just a part of doing business but it’s more than that.  Corporations love to gather data on you, the customer.  They want to know as much about you as they possibly can so they can find more devious ways of selling their crap to you and separate you from your money.  They will sugar coat these programs with corporate speak.  They will throw out buzzwords like “savings” or “enhancing your buying experience”.  I don’t want a fucking buying experience.  I just want to get some goddam groceries.

These tactics are getting more and more invasive.  Go online to that wally mart link if you dare and a drop down will appear wanting to add you to their notification list.  Buy anything online and unless you are not careful to check the “do not put me on the email list”, the moment you hit the payment received button, you will be getting emails, snail mail, and possibly phone calls.

Here is the thing.  None of these corporations, merchants, retailers, none of them, have any right to any information about you when you purchase something.  If you buy something in person, all they are entitled to is the money you give them in exchange for goods and services.  If there is shipping involved, they get the address.  Nothing more.  These bastards have absolutely no right whatsoever to know anything more about you.  None.  Nada.  Zip.

And that is what is so cool about Apple Pay, and why many merchants are not adopting it.  Because with Apple Pay, it is nearly impossible for a merchant to track anything about you, other than the money coming from your bank to them.  They can’t keep a file on what you bought.  They can’t get contact information about you.  They can’t do shit.  And that is the way it should be.

Our privacy has been in the news a lot lately.  The government has been spying on all of us for years, keeping files on our every move, what we say and do.  What for, I don’t know.  They can’t arrest us all, or can they?  But that’s government.  Spying is what they do.  For the corporate world, no.  They don’t have that right.  Not one bit.  Oh they will bitch, moan, whine, and snivel about it.  And trot out the corporate speak handbook to give a line of bullshit a mile long how knowing all about you will only enhance your needs, bring you fulfillment in life, and make you a super, happy funtime, worker bee.  As long as you keep spending money with them.  It’s all about money and power.

It will be interesting to see just how much impact Apple Pay has on the economy.  I for one believe that it will revolutionize how we do business and pay for things.  The more people realize how they can go someplace and buy something, and not have the merchant follow them around like a lost puppy begging for more, the more Apple Pay will get used.  Apple Pay is not perfect and no doubt some ingenious fool will find a way to get around all that pesky security, but for now it is a very viable and secure way to do business.   As of this writing, 220,000 businesses across the country have adopted Apple Pay.  If you have an iPhone 6, 6+, or eventually the Watch, seek out these businesses and take advantage of the technology.  And if you happen to walk into a place that doesn’t use Apple Pay, ask them if they accept it.  If not, turn around and walk out.

And stop letting corporations/merchants/retailers get your personal information.  Refuse to give it out.  If they won’t cooperate, walk out.  Do not do business if they demand your personal information.  Remember, they do not have a right to said information.  Not one fucking bit.  Start standing up to these people.  Protect your privacy.  Fight back by not spending money with them.  That hurts them more than anything else.

Capt. Fritter

I tried to use Apple Pay on Duval last weekend at a bar, but all they would take were bananas.