Going contactless at my local Chinese with the #GemaltoNFC challenge

It’s me again. I’ve got more flipping heartache for you regarding my attempts to flatted my rival, blogger Jon Choo, in our quest for glory with Gemalto’s Contactless Challenge.

My local Chinese place has got a new credit card machine. I noticed this a few weeks ago. I presumed it would do contactless payments.

So when I was explaining to my wife about this upcoming challenge on Saturday afternoon, it hit me that I could test out my new Gemalto-supplied Galaxy SIII and burst my pay-with-a-phone-swipe cherry, prior to the challenge formally beginning on Monday morning (19th November). Buying the Chinese takeaway with the phone would be a good way of also avoiding a salad on Saturday night.

Everyone’s a winner.

So I headed round to the restaurant with the Galaxy SIII in my hand. I was rather apprehensive. It’s one thing using your credit card to pay for something — that usually surprises people LOTS — so how would the folk in the restaurant react to me swiping and paying with my phone?

As I perused the menu inside the restaurant, I felt a bit of perspiration gathering. I kid ye not. I was rather worried as to how the lady behind the desk was going to react.

I gave her my order, surrounded by about 6 other people waiting to pick up their meals. 6 people in this restaurant lobby made the place feel CROWDED.

She calculated the cost. £17. The pressure mounted.

“Excellent,” I thought to myself, “That’s under the £20 contactless limit.”

I was about to bring out my phone when I realised I had a problem. A super-live problem.

You see, the acceptable next step on my behalf was to either bright our cash or a card. Or at least start fumbling about in my pocket. However I couldn’t do this until I saw her card terminal to confirm they did contactless. I was 99% sure they did.

So I said, “Thank you,” and did my level best to avoid doing anything. I had to manually send signals to my body to NOT move my arms or reach for my credit card. Not until I’d seen the machine.

“Can I pay then?” I asked, feeling like a chump.

She looked at me strangely. She was, I think, native of China, so me just saying ‘thank you’ without reaching to pay had potentially singled me out as a problem customer.

She continued looking at me blankly, waiting for me.

“Er,” I said, shocked into reality, “Can I pay by credit card?” I said. Dumb idiot. Obviously. I always pay by credit card. EVERYONE pays by card at this place. Indeed I don’t think I’ve seen anyone actually pay with cash whenever I’ve been there.

She nodded, with a look as though I’d asked her if the sky was blue.

My thinking was this: Reach for the card but when she brought over the machine, do a bit of sleight of hand and say “Ah hah, I will pay with my phone”….

She eventually brought over the machine — it had been sitting charging.


No contactless.

I couldn’t believe it.

I paid as normal.

IF that machine had been contactless, I seriously don’t know how the lady would have reacted to me swiping or tapping my phone. Yes, the machine would have printed a receipt but I reckon she’d have had to re-read the receipt about 3 times before accepting that I’d actually paid.

It was an illuminating experience, I can tell you that. And it was completely unexpected. I didn’t expect — AT ALL — to feel self-conscious or apprehensive about using the technology.

I was so surprised I immediately walked out of the restaurant, fired up the phone and filmed myself to try and capture my perspective. I’ll publish the resulting  witterings just as soon as they’re uploaded to YouTube.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

2 replies on “Going contactless at my local Chinese with the #GemaltoNFC challenge”

Can’t wait for your next instalment.
Next video in landscape [not portrait] please 🙂

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