Did you pay cash for that?

We have to offer a big thank you to Raymond Lee (@rayleee) this morning for bringing this item to our attention via his Twitter feed. After doing a little more checking we discovered the original source of this story, so must also credit Kevin Fogarty (IT World). Kevin may have done us all a favour – the contactless payment industry that is – by bringing to light what may turn out to be a fantastic reason to converting to contactless/mobile payments. Namely, that if you use cash to buy your coffee, this may indicate that you are in fact, a terrorist. At least according to the FBI.

This next bit is quoted from Mr. Fogarty’s article.

“According to a set of guidelines sent out by the FBI as part of its Communities Against Terror program, ordinary citizens need to be on the lookout for suspicious characters who follow patterns of behaviour particularly indicative of a covert operative with mayhem on his or her mind. As part of its Communities Against Terrorism” program, the FBI distributes fliers aimed at 25 different industries “purportedly highlighting typical activity of a terrorist who might frequent a shopping mall, Internet café, tattoo shop, bulk fuel distributor or other typical hangout of the Jihadist underground.

CAT is part of a program run by the Dept. of Justice called the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training program (SLATT), which could provide effective, well-grounded do and information for law enforcement and citizens on what to do in case of emergency, how to recognise behaviour that is a genuine indicator someone may be up to no good and what to do about it.

Using Google Maps to find your way around a strange city, to view photos of sports stadium or the cities themselves or installing software on your PC designed to protect your privacy online are all solid indications not that you’re a terrorist, rather than a web-savvy traveller.”

I think we’ll reserve judgement on this advice at the moment as I would imagine that just about everyone reading this post has, at sometime, used Google maps or even tried to protect their privacy. The best advice though, is for those eagle-eyed defenders of justice – the humble Barista. Their capacity to keep a close eye on everyone and weed out suspicious terrorist-like activity is second only to their ability to take 10 minutes to pour a cappuccino and create that little leaf out of frothy milk on the top. What are they to look out for? What are the latest revelation from the FBI files? — Paying in cash for coffee.

Apparently (according to the FBI/Mr. Fogarty) using cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, gum and other items is a good indication that a person is trying to pass for normal without leaving the kind of paper trail created using a debit or credit card for small purchases.

I think this is gold for marketers in the contactless industry. Although, upon reflection, perhaps not. After all, mobile/contactless payments may speed up time at the checkout but there is also the danger of simply joining a larger queue at the barista station as your coffee is made. And if we’re being given the once over by a barista who now thinks he’s Clint Eastwood – it’s going to take all morning to get a coffee. Perhaps the catch phrase ‘Do you want fries with that?’ will be replaced with ‘Did you pay cash for that?’ before you’re menaced with a frothy milk dispenser and then whisked away by men in dark suits who demand to know why you’re not using contactless payments.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Could we start a meme here, anyone…?

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Categories: Contactless Payments, Contactless Technology, Mobile Payments

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