Payment mechanisms

This morning the Meru Cab driver swiped my credit card into the machine in the cab and waited for the response. It was close to ten minutes and there was no response. The system wasn’t even timing out – it tried redialing every time the server timed out. Finally I got frustrated, told the driver that I won’t get charged unless I sign, mustered together enough change and moved on.

I’m a fairly loyal user of Meru Cabs, and it is my preferred means of transportation to the airport, and I fly quite often nowadays. I have an account on their website, which enables me to book a cab quickly and easily. On several occasions I have problems mustering enough change to pay them. Sometimes this morning the credit card machine doesn’t work. I even missed a flight once because I went hunting for an ATM so that I could pay my cabbie.

Given the ongoing relationship I have with Meru, I should have an account with them. When I book a cab online, the cost of my journey can directly billed to my account (which could be pre-paid). When I get a cab at the airport, I can use a Near Field Communication (NFC) based system to inform Meru that I’m in that particular cab, and once again my account can get used.

I think there is a significant amount of work that can potentially be done to further disrupt the payment industry. NFC might hold the key there.

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