Gas Stations: Let's Get With the NFC
*** Updated 7/23/2019 ***
Just a couple weeks back I wrote the post [below] regarding my wish that gas stations (really all vendors) start adopting NFC payments. The linked article at the conclusion of this post proves my point. Point of Sale (POS) devices are continually vulnerable, and although NFC method of payment is by no means a 100% solution I still welcome it or any method that would limit such nefarious action of scraping a credit card number. I tweeted it out earlier this morning but I wanted to add it to this post for reference also.
I'm an avid fan of paying small ticket items, coffee, miscellaneous groceries, dinner, etc., with my phone using Near Field Communication (NFC). It's quick. It's convenient, and by my estimation it is more secure then sliding my card through a reader no matter how many chips are weaved into my card.
The Point of Sale (POS) device does not get your credit/debit card number. Instead, the POS receives a one-time auto generated number that is used specifically for that transaction so that, if malware is present that skims the number there is nothing compromised. The cyber criminal is left with a worthless number that cannot be reused.
Now if the reader is jittery about having a credit card saved on the phone consider this point: You don't want to have a credit card saved on your phone because you're concerned about security, but in a restaurant you're willing to hand off your card to any wait staff -- complete strangers -- to process your dinner bill? You have no clue what is happening up at the register. A wait staff could be in a line, a manager could become distracted and someone may quickly copy down the number. Or the wait staff could themselves be less than trustworthy. It is why that when I see a POS device, equipped with all of the little games and surveys on the table when I'm seated I have a measure of relief. I'm not saying NFC payments are 100% secure. Not that at all. What I am saying is they are more secure than me just handing my credit card off to a stranger.
Which brings me back to gas stations. I have yet to see (in the Western New York region anyway) a gas station that accepts NFC payments at the pump, and I think their reluctance is misplaced. Are they slow to adopt new technology? Are they concerned they will be compromised? Gas stations have been notorious for having people drive up and attach skimmers -- devices that will steal the credit card number but still allow the transaction to go through -- to their pumps. I get quite leery and I usually give a tug on the credit card reader to make sure it is what it is and there isn't a skimmer attached whenever I fill up. How much easier it would be if I could simply wave my phone and allow the transaction to go through an NFC, and it would be peace of mind as well that there is far less chance of anything being compromised during the transfer. It's better for the customer. It's better for the merchant in the long run because no business wants to endure a data breach. Those headaches in terms of both public relations and technical go far beyond any installation costs or fees associated. I have no problem in stating that I generally remember places that allow NFC payments, I tend to frequent them more, and I tend to be less inclined to frequent those that do not offer it. It's 2019. I think it's time the gas stations got with the program as they would benefit greatly given their POS at the pumps are on the exterior and are the most vulnerable.
What do you think? Are you a NFC user with Apple or Google Pay? Do you like it? Please leave your comments below.
ZDNet Article, 7/23/2019:
With Badhatch & ProSlurp, POS Systems continually at risk: