Can MasterCard PayPass kill me?
MasterCard© PayPass™ is a new product from MasterCard that lets you pay for products without handing your credit card to anyone. This is done in one of two ways.
If the store at which you are purchasing something is equipped with a MasterCard© PayPass™ PayPassPayStation© Station® then all you need to do is pass your credit card near the station and you will be charged. You don't even have to sign anything! And for added convenience, the range of the station is up to six yards, and your card works even if it is in your wallet. MasterCard© envisions a day when a consumer walking down the street will buy something from every store he passes without having to so much as lift a finger!
But what if the merchant you want to buy something from is not equipped with a MasterCard© PayPass™ PayPassPayStation© Station®? No problem! MasterCard© PayPass™ PayPassPayPerson© technology, embedded in your card, generates an electromagnetic field which, when used in conjunction with a human head, convinces whomever it interfaces with that you have already paid for your purchase! To use this feature, just go to the counter with your purchases as you normally would, wave your MasterCard© PayPass™ in front of the clerk while depressing the card's heat-activated hologram with your thumb, and millisecond later the clerk will think you've paid and pack up your new "purchases" with a smile!
This is all well and good, but what about the possibility of fatalities? There really is very little to worry about. Among the thousands of people who beta tested MasterCard© PayPass™, only seventeen died from causes that could, in some stretch of the imagination, be directly linked to the use of the card (non-fatal injuries were not tracked).
These deaths were linked to two unusual features of the card.
First, the information encoded in the magnetic field generated by the card allows it to be sensed by MasterCard© PayPass™ PayPassPayStation© Stations® but it also may cause industrial robots to go berserk, override automobile cruise-control settings, and be seen as a target by certain types of guided missiles.
Second, clerks exposed to MasterCard© PayPass™ PayPassPayPerson© technology occasionally become convinced that you not only have paid for your purchase, but that you paid for it in Reichmarks and are Hitler. Some people have an instinctive violent reaction to Hitler, leading to an embarrassing situation and, on occasion, death.
You have little to fear from these potential pitfalls, however: MasterCard© guarantees that if you die as a result of using PayPass™, your annual service charge for that year will be waived.
(PayPass is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. PayPassDeathPass is not a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated.)