Sunday, May 19, 2013

Paying the Price for Technology

Do you remember the song "I can't drive 55"?  Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later.  Driving in the city on a regular basis is just not the same as driving on the highway - you can't stretch your "legs" quite the same but every now and again an opportunity comes along and you can put the pedal to the metal just a little bit.  Though perhaps it happened in the wrong location... where there was a radar device.

But actually the reason I'm writing this entry is not to complain about my speeding ticket (though it does suck and in actuality is Josh's ticket, not mine), but in fact the technology that surrounds it and my life here in Barcelona.  Not only do I rarely see a police officer pulling over speeders here - most speeding is caught via camera (and they actually often alert you to the location of the camera so if you get caught, you are kind of stupid), but even the ticket is taken care of via electronics, the ATM to be exact.  That's not to say I can't go to the police station and protest said ticket, but honestly paying the 50 euros is less painful than going to Spanish court.

However, as I said though, the ticket can be paid via ATM.  I didn't realize this as I was going to send Josh to work with the ticket to take to our bank to be paid (it didn't have bank transfer info on it) when he told me I could just go to the ATM and scan the bar code on the bottom.  Seriously?  

See the bar code on the bottom?  That's how I paid my ticket

Now, for all I know, tickets can be paid via ATM at home - I've always gone to court to appeal them so I have no idea.  I'm feeling a trend with the "always" as if I get speeding tickets on a regular basis, but I assure you, it's not the case.  Anyways, it was very cool that there was an option when I went to the ATM machine that says to pay bills.  Who knew??

But that lead me to think about other ways that Europe is just slightly ahead of the US when it comes to  certain technologies.  An example is the chip on credit cards.  From what I've read, these are slowly being introduced in the US but are still years behind Europe and even some of Asia in using them amongst the masses.  The chip on the card is in addition to the credit card strip along the back.  It's added security and stores the information about the account on the chip.  This is important when travelling abroad as you need to enter a pin when using the chip version of the card - not so easy to steal!  

And I'm not sure that this is necessarily an extra way of being secure either but there are no checks here.  Everything is done via bank transfer.  You give your bank name, bank address and account number to the person who owes you money and money is transferred into your account.  Easy peasy.  So it must be easy to steal too, right? Not so much.  Because you have a special card that has a list of numbers.  When you go to do the transfer, the bank website asks you for the remainder of the numbers in a sequence - you look at your card to find said sequence and enter them in.

So it's not major things where Europe is ahead but just a few more differences I thought I'd point out.  What I did notice at home in the US that I haven't seen much of here (except at the apple store) is that all the stores now ask if you want your receipt emailed to you instead of taking a paper receipt.  It's something I only noticed when I was home last summer but still something new that Europe hasn't caught on to yet.  Just some random thoughts :)


1 comment:

  1. We've had the chips in Canada on debit and credit cards for awhile now too lol