The Future of Credit Card Technology

Credit cards as we know them may be going away forever. As hard as that may be for some people to believe, there is new technology that is quickly making traditional credit cards obsolete. It is very possible that in the future, your phone could also be used as your credit card. No matter what future the credit industry has, it seems clear that the physical credit card itself will not be a part of it.

The reason those plastic cards may be going away forever is an inevitable change in the terminals for credit card transactions. Credit cards have a magnetic strip that is able to interact with point-of-sale (POS) electronic terminals. However, these terminals will need to change to accommodate more secure, Internet-based applications. When this happens, the credit card will become as obsolete as the eight-track player, the VCR, the typewriter, and the phonograph.

Cell Phones

Credit card companies have already started to move beyond the plastic card, both for mobile payments and online purchases. Retailers are developing applications for mobile devices as a way of performing non-card–based transactions. All things considered, it makes perfect sense for a cell phone payment device to be developed. It would allow cell phone companies to get a percentage of the very lucrative electronic payments business. The convenience of paying with your cell phone would also be a benefit to consumers. After all, most people carry their cell phones with them all the time anyway. They will no longer be forced to carry a credit card also.

The Future of Shopping

People often wonder what shopping in the future might be like if credit cards do indeed go away. Personalized technology will be adapted in stores everywhere. In a sense, you will be constantly monitored without your knowledge, through your cell phone. The store you are shopping at will identify you from your phone and adjust its advertizing to your interests. This may sound like science fiction, but it is coming faster than many people think.

Shop and Walk

As the methods by which people pay for things change in the future, so will the checkout experience. You may no longer need to stand in line to make a simple POS transaction. A new terminal may be developed to make buying your item faster than ever before. You will simply be scanned as you walk out of the store. This technology is still in the planning stages, so there has been no definite description of what this terminal will look like or how it will operate. Industry experts say it is still at least five years away from the testing phase. It is generally thought that this new terminal will use Internet protocol, tap-and-go functionality, and mobile technology to be able to complete transactions as fast as possible.

Making a Purchase with a Wave, Nod, or Wink

Another future replacement for the credit card that is in development involves an in-store video system that monitors the items that a customer puts into their shopping cart. When they are ready to leave, saying yes or making a simple gesture will allow them to complete the transaction.


Randy Thompson is a freelance writer who focuses on credit cards, personal finance and other similar issues. For more great info on credit visit

Image credit goes to The Nth Degree.

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