Credit cards have been around since the 1950s with the introduction of the Diners Club Card in the USA, providing an alternative to personal loans in many ways. Yet with all the recent advancements in technology, even this convenient payment tool is under threat from new and innovative inventions. In the UK alone, there are around 32 million credit card holders, but in the future they could soon find that while the concept of credit cards exists, their physical presence may well change.
Rising Mobile Payments
Online and contactless payments have changed the payment industry massively, thanks in a large part to the evolution of the internet. In 2017 contactless cards accounted for 15% of all payments in the UK, with experts predicting this will rise to around 36% within the next ten years. But it’s not just credit and debit cards which are being used to make such payments.
Now it’s possible to link many credit cards to smartphones and watches, which is highly convenient for contactless payments especially. This means fewer people are using or taking out a physical credit card with them, simply using their phone to make payments and regularly leaving their card at home. It could be a sign of what’s to come.
The Invisible Credit Card
With many credit cards already moving onto mobiles, there is potential for it to expand further into wearables. The likes of smart watches and bracelets are pushing for this, while rings and key chains are being developed to provide ways to pay without the need of an actual card.
This has been referred to as an invisible credit card. An example commonly used involves people in the future going to the supermarket, filling up their trolley and sensors identifying the items and payment details from the smart watch, bracelet, ring or other wearable to process the transaction. It may sound scary but does offer a convenient solution.
Probably the main reason the future of credit cards can sound scary is due to security concerns. The threat of hackers and privacy issues, with all your spending and therefore locations being tracked, does sound daunting.
This is something that will be worked on with encryption and improving technology to prevent hacking.Though it’s also a reason why the integration of such payment methods may take many years to be fully used and trusted.With smart watches, bracelets and other wearables they’re less likely to get lost and harder to physically steal compared to credit cards however.
Credit Card Innovations
Many more innovations are bound to be introduced in the future and some companies are already developing them. Visual technology that scans finger prints and faces is already being trialled as an alternative to credit card payments in some places.
This is being taken a step further with the likes of CardCase though, that is being developed so people can pay by simply saying their name aloud. Linked to your smartphone, it recognises your voice to auto-fill payment information in seconds.
With so many payment innovations being developed and in use, it seems the future of the credit card as a physical piece of plastic could be on the decline.