WSJ: iPIN rigs cars with electronic payment system

Ross Snel reports on iPIN’s plans for equipping cars with transponders for use in payments.

Here’s how iPIN’s system might work: You pull up to a drive-through window at a fast-food restaurant and order a meal. Instead of grabbing your wallet, though, you sit back while the restaurant’s electronic scanner bounces a radio-frequency signal to a chip embedded deep inside your car. The chip identifies you and your payment account.

After the cashier receives an electronic message verifying that you have enough money in your account for your burger, fries and shake, he hands over your food and you drive away.

If this system obtains a confirmation from the consumer agreeing to the payment (presumably from a dashboard display), then it might be acceptable to consumers. Lacking that, how many consumers will feel comfortable with a merchant just arbitrarily sucking money out of their account?

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