We’re Too Stupid for Convenience

This morning I read an article about UK-based financial institution Barclay’s bank rolling out yet another way to pay without opening your wallet and pulling out your debit, credit, or store card.

It is one third of the size of a standard credit card, with a sticky reverse side.

It will be sent without charge to customers who request it and will come in addition to their regular credit card.

The credit card provider believes that people should stick it to the back of their mobile phone handset because most adults carry their phone with them at all times. Cardholders may choose to attach it to their wallet or a key ring, instead.

Are we ready for this kind of technology? I don’t think so. Not only do I think we’re not ready, I think that financial institutions know that we’re not ready and that’s why they want us to sign up for stuff like this…. so we’ll blow our money and end up paying fees to them. That sounds kind of conspiracy theory-ish doesn’t it? Well, just because it sounds like that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth.

Originally there was a limit of £10 on wave-and-go purchases. That maximum level now stands at £15 and is set to increase to £20 in June.

This is generally the kind of amount spent on debit cards, rather than credit cards, although Barclaycard is clearly encouraging customers to make more everyday purchases on a credit card.

You know what happens when you walk around with a sticker on your cell phone that lets you charge up to $15 worth of stuff at a time? You buy more crap that you don’t need. Don’t believe me? Barclays’s isn’t the only company looking into this kind of technology. Companies in Silicon Valley have been researching a “mobile wallet”idea for a while. Here are a few choice tidbits from the horse’s mouth:

They really start to salivate at the potential marketing bonanza. Companies developing these services plan on packing loyalty cards, coupon folders, and Groupon-like deal-of-the-day offers right into the digital wallet. Retailers could build comprehensive profiles of their customers, targeting them with additional discounts and come-ons at the checkout terminal or when they’re out and about, in pretty much the same way Amazon and other online retailers track shoppers as they browse the Web.

You know why they offer these deals? Because they know that not only will you make the original purchase, you’ll purchase a few more items because you got a discount. SMH They know what we don’t, that we’re too stupid to make good decisions when faced with “deals” and “convenience”.


Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

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