Credit cards: Whether you love them or hate them, credit cards are here to stay. Credit cards have become commonplace staples in the average person’s wallet, with some holding no less than 10 of these tiny innovations in personal cash flow management. And these cards come in all types of flavors, customized for the ever-changing needs of the consumer. However, as technology improves and advances, what’s in store for these little rectangular payment methods folks have grown to love and rely on?
With security and identity theft remaining an ever-present concern for consumers and credit card issuers alike, VISA is spearheading a new credit card technology, by inserting a chip into the card that would change the three-digit verification code (something required by most online vendors) each time the card is swiped, to cut down on online fraud. While this holds no bearing on what might happen if the card is stolen, it is a giant leap forward in credit card technology regarding internet identity theft.
Mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular for the younger set, and it is a method that is simple to use provided you are technologically savvy. Consumers simply input their credit card data for a specific merchant into their smart phones; they then have an instant payment method identical to “saving” credit card data on merchant websites. Ultra-smart and forward thinking companies are even writing apps to keep loyal consumers even more loyal.
In fact, Starbucks is ahead of the pack on this one, offering customers a mobile app that they can use to pay for purchases even when visiting the drive thru.
And then, of course, there are mobile wallet systems. The hope for these is that they will replace physical wallets over time. Consumers simply plug in all of their credit card data into their smart phone and are no longer burdened with carrying credit cards or wallets. The only blockade to progress here is that many merchants have not yet upgraded their payment terminals to accept these innovations, and many consumers don’t (as of yet) have the upgraded technology to embrace this particular method of payment, either.
While credit card technology and payment methods are constantly changing, evolving and improving, the way that most people use money remains the same; as long as merchants keep making it convenient for us to spend it, we will.