Bad payment apps

(Allie) #1

Hi all, inspired by @Rjevski and not wanting to derail someone else’s thread, what are the worst payment apps and experiences you’ve encountered? Both legacy and fintech :slight_smile:

To be fair, ****** QR-code based systems have taken off fantastically in some countries.

I don’t think even MCX believed in their product, as if it’s true merchants had to sign a pledge to disable contactless (and there is some evidence - for example, Best Buy re-enabled contactless once MCX collapsed, and they’d disabled it some years before) that seems to indicate they know the customer experience with contactless is better. In this millennium, trying to force customers to use your product instead of improving it isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

Yet, we still see it all the time. Barclaycard refuses to participate in Android Pay, thinking it’ll force me to use their app that requires a PIN over £30, declines over £100 and never works well. Furthermore, to prevent me from using it just sometimes, they don’t allow it to work unless you make it your default payment app (you should be able to have the foreground app bypass the default, but Barclays disables the contactless function if you don’t have it set to your default).


Massively in Asia, to the point of new regulation:

The report noted that China is the leader when it comes to mobile payments, many of which are made via scanning a QR code. In 2016, the value of Chinese third-party mobile payments hit $5.5 trillion, and the fast growth is continuing throughout this year. Alipay, which is operated by Ant Financial, is the leading digital payment service in China, followed by Tencent-owned WeChat.

(Allie) #3

Definitely. I mean to be fair I’ve never used WeChat Pay or AliPay in store (only the westernised version of AliPay used by AliExpress). But my general feeling of barcode payments is they’re really faffy. I put up with them at Starbucks for my Stars… But I’d hate them to be a daily part of my shopping elsewhere.


I think it’s partially a mindset, what you reach for to pay. A friend was in China recently and the independent bike taxis all used QR payments/ WeChat pay - just the first thing you would expect to pay with.

It was fascinating to read this and learn that QR based login is also a huge thing:

I can’t cover every angle here, but for one thing, internet cafes and public computers are everywhere, and since those computers get a lot of use by a lot of folks, they’re kinda like public toilets: crawling with viruses and lord-knows-what. Knowing this, fear of keyloggers on public machines can make some users reluctant to type in credentials. Two, China is mobile-centric, and successful desktop interactions often assume the user has a mobile phone close at hand and they offer to integrate the mobile into the experience as a matter of convenience.

(Andre Borie) #5

I’m surprised that QR codes were chosen as a solution to malware. If the machine is malicious it will be able to capture the information whether it’s typed in or scanned with a QR reader.


How would this work?

My only experience in logging in with a QR code is with whatsapp web, which feels like it avoids a keylogger getting information related to sign in.

If it doesn’t, then I would assume that simply the fact it ‘feels like’ it does is why it succeeds, in the same way a PIN to log in to Monzo would make some people ‘feel’ more secure.

(Geoff Pascoe) #7

I use Tesco Pay+, which is QR code based. I use it because Tesco Bank don’t support Android pay, and I don’t use my Tesco debit card anywhere else so don’t carry it with me. The app itself is ok - nothing special but it does the job. Unfortunately their self checkouts often fail to read the QR code even after waving my phone around like an idiot for a while.

(Allie) #8

If it was a static QR code, like Starbucks is a static 2-D barcode (not QR) then no, it wouldn’t work. My understanding was these are dynamic, though? Am I wrong?


Testing with Whatsapp, it is dynamic, changes each time I refresh the login page.

(Eve) #10

You can pay using your face at supermarkets, fast-food chains, cafés now. My bf is from Shanghai and told me how so many places are implementing it and it works so quickly!

With roadside stalls and restaurants you often get discounts if you use wechat pay- I think it was taken up so quickly since it works a little like less fuss for everyone involved and you don’t need to bother with change or any card details. I like how they’ve pretty much skipped past the card stage to go right into mobile and now face payments :joy:

(Andre Borie) #11

I like how they’ve pretty much skipped past the card stage to go right into mobile […]

That is until you realize the rest of the developed world couldn’t care less about WeChat, which is a problem both for foreigners visiting China and Chinese travelers abroad. :sob: Mobile payments are nice but they must be implemented as an open standard (in our case it’s EMV) and so any EMV-compliant terminal would be able to accept such a card provided it’s got a connection to the right card network (Visa, MasterCard, etc), and any bank can issue an EMV-capable payment instrument (whether a card or a mobile).

With a Visa or MasterCard I know I’m pretty much covered anywhere in the world. With a WeChat? Yeah… :joy:

(Allie) #12

Is it widely used? I remember when Square introduced that in the US. I think its gone now, as almost no one used it (I did once just to try it but it confused the shop - who had opted in on Square but the actual cashier had never seen it before, and overall it was just slower for everyone). That said, if it was getting widely used so everyone was used to the transaction flow, I think it could have been really awesome!

It would be nice if WeChat Pay was made available as an option tied to a British card, it could be a great travel option! EMV isn’t always perfect, either, and while I’m a strong believer every shop should support EMV contact and contactless for the major networks, I think it’d be nice to have the choice of WeChat Pay opened up to us.

(Geoff Pascoe) #13

Google had a system for a while where you literally just said “I’ll pay with Google”, and it used a combination of voice recognition and proximity of your phone to identify/authenticate you and charge your Google wallet. I think they scrapped it, but I don’t know if that was due to lack of use, lack of support from vendors or technical issues.

This and paying with your face (or even further, Amazon’s shops where you just grab stuff and walk out and they use computer vision to work out what you’ve bought and who you are) are some combination of terrifying and awesome. I’m not sure how I feel about them

(Andre Borie) #14

they use computer vision to work out what you’ve bought and who you are

Makes me think of

(Allie) #15

Have they actually opened one yet, or is it just that concept video that was on YouTube? Agreed - terrifying and awesome. Oh, the ethical dilemma…

(Allie) #17

Why do you think it’s superior? If it works well, the customer experience should be similar. I strongly prefer contactless because it is an open standard with global compatibility.

I will say that my reference to QR-code systems being poor is not aimed at any one system, but rather at a variety of systems I have tried - which does not include WeChat or AliPay. Of the systems I’ve tried, read reliability of the barcode tends to be the biggest issue.

Of course, contactless has its own interoperability issues, so it’s hard to give that point to either camp. Both need improvement!

(Eve) #19

I wish I could pay with wechat pay but it has to be linked to a Chinese bank account :confused: and card acceptance isn’t great in all parts of China too so I would expect needing to carry cash around.

It’s only just starting to take off and you only get it in some areas at the moment, but the locals seem to really like it. You get recommendations at KFC based on your age, mood etc. too. Idk how I feel about that but it is cool. They have staff at the kiosks to guide them through it sort of like how you get staff hanging about in Tesco at the self-checkouts to rescue us during unexpected item in bagging area/ could not verify bag. The Tesco pay app takes ages to scan and you are just waving your phone about uselessly and holding up the queue for ages. I decided not to bother about all those extra bonus points in the end. Adding the card to your phone wallet scans a lot faster.

Imo face recognition technology can be applied to so much more than payments- they use it in kindergartens, schools, hotels, etc to increase security. My bf’s cousin gets his attendance taken by face so no more of that “please take attendance for me” stuff, or passing a piece of paper around that invariably gets lost somewhere- I detest when people skive off class (also surprises me that most classes don’t have a quota for attendance).

I think it’ll be awhile before it’ll be brought here, perhaps never? I think a lot of people are wary about privacy and security and data protection and all that, it might seem a bit Black Mirror-esque to some of the older gen.? My grandfather doesn’t even like cards.

(Geoff Pascoe) #20

I believe there’s one in Seattle that’s only for Amazon employees. They were planning to open it to the public but got some technical roadblocks when there were too many people in the store so it’s been delayed.

(Valeri) #21

AliPay accepts foreign cards to some extent but not for account verificaiton so you won’t be able to send money to friends, split bills, etc., but you can still use your MasterCard for purchases.

(Allie) #23

I’m not sure about in person (I thought the answer was no), but AliPay on the web does work with Monzo (used for AliExpress). I thought the in-person service didn’t work with foreign cards, though.

As an aside, people seem to like AliPay, overall. I’m interested in the terrible apps :slight_smile:

Wait, so it’s like, AI facial recognition? That’s very different to what Square did in the US, which was human-driven (the shop’s iPad showed the faces of everyone in the shop based on geolocation data from their phones, and the cashier clicked on the person making a purchase).