As Far As Credit Cards Go, The Future Is Now

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

There have been many exciting technological advancements in the payment industry over the past year which will lead to big changes in the way consumers use credit.

Recent advancements in credit card technology are going to be taking effect in 2012. New developments in the way transactions are processed, real-time rewards and even the physical characteristics of the cards themselves will begin to change the way many consumers charge.

Google Wallet was launched last year which is likely to be the first of many products enabling consumers to utilize their smart phone or other mobile device to pay for purchases instead of a traditional plastic credit card.

It works because a user’s credit card account is linked to their smartphone and money gets deducted in precisely the same manner as when a credit card is used. Near-field connumications technology makes it possible. With no signature needed, no card needed and no paper receipt, the Google Wallet and like products are not only simple but will generate less waste.

There is something called “geolocation” that would allow credit card companies to be aware of a specific customer’s whereabouts at any given moment by tracking them via their smartphone. This service would allow that individual to receive real-time messages from their card issuer, providing helpful information such as the location of their nearest ATM bank branch. Additionally, anyone who signs up to allow their credit card company to “geolocate” them would be availed of special promotional deals that are location based – for example, exclusive discounts from participating retailers.

EMV (which stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) chips have been embedded in cards in Europe and elsewhere for a while now, but the United States has been slow to embrace the technology. EMV microprocessor chips are about the size of a fingernail and are implanted into the card in lieu of a magnetized swipe strip on the back. One of the best things about EMV chips is that they provide added protection against fraud and identity thieves.

According to Fox Business, one Canadian broadcaster delivered a report in December on how Canada has been faring since the implementation of EMV chip technology. Police sources revealed that they had been “seeing fewer cases of counterfeit credit cards, and the force attributes the decline to new technology.”

When an EMV card is used, it is tapped at special terminal that can retrieve the necessary information to complete the transaction. They are also known as “chip-and-PIN” cards due to the necessity of punching in a four-digit personal identification number every transaction. The entering of a PIN replaces signing for purchases, as happens when a card is “swiped.”

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