The way we shop, purchase and pay for products has changed dramatically over the last decade. First, signatures gave way to chip and pin, a method that promised greater security and fraud prevention. More recently, banks embraced contactless technology, giving rise to faster and more efficient transactions – perfect for busy, on-the-go, 21st century folks.
Statistics show that the uptake of contactless systems continues to grow, with 3 billion contactless payments in Europe in 2015-16. But as technology grows and cash becomes obsolete, what does the future hold for card payments?
Increases in NFC Software
Standing for Near Field Communication, NFC software has propelled payment technology forward. The NFC chip on your card allows contactless payment, but tech industries are looking to take it one step further. While many have already hopped on board with phone apps and payment via fingerprint – in fact, mobile payment is expected to exceed 148 million at the close of 2016 – your phone could soon replace your cards, altogether.
By installing an NFC chip on your phone, along with an app for your bank, your mobile could soon replace your entire wallet.
More Wearable Tech
The wearable tech industry exploded in 2015, with the release of the long awaited Apple watch. Many other companies followed suit and soon the market was flooded with smart watches that could sync with phones, give health updates and even pay for lunch. While sales of smart watches have declined, it seems wearable tech is here to stay.
In 2014, Australian tailors designed a prototype suit with a built in NFC chip, allowing payment with the wave of a sleeve. It seems we could soon be wearing our payment systems, rather than carrying cards.
New Space Age Cards
Rather than looking to replace cards, researchers have been developing new technology that could amalgamate all of your payment cards into one, in the form of a card-shaped mini smart computer. This device works by storing payment data from all of your existing cards, and allowing you to select which one you would like to use.
Alternatively, how about a card that can dissolve? Over the last few years, using transient materials that have previously been reserved for the armed forces, developers at Iowa State have created a card that can dissolve on command, should they fall into the hands of a thief.
The Common Denominator?
While technology will continue to drive how we pay, all current developments have one thing in common: they need to connect to a terminal. So, while payment machines will have to adapt to these new technologies, it would appear that the mobile card machine is here to stay.