Credit Card Expert Roundup #41 - What new credit card technology are you most excited about and why?
Technology is moving so fast that it's hard to keep up with the latest this and the latest that. While we sometimes get hyper-focused on gadgets/devices/etc. there are other emerging technologies that we are beginning to adapt that make our lives more simple. Jason asks the following question for this Edition which relates to technology and credit cards:
What new credit card technology are you most excited about and why?
Ben Luthi - Credit card expert and freelance writer in the finance vertical
The technology I'm most excited about right now is contactless credit cards. Based on how long it took the U.S. to adopt EMV chips, I'm surprised they've followed it up so quickly with contactless credit cards. From the research I've done, there's little (if any) room for credit card fraud when using a contactless credit card at a point-of-sale card reader. It's also a faster checkout experience than inserting your card into the chip reader or even having to pull out your phone or smartwatch to use your mobile wallet.
The only bummer is that I've noticed that several businesses, including big retailers, still don't have contactless-enabled card readers, so there's still room for the retail industry to catch up. Also, contactless cards obviously still don't help with online transactions, so it'd be nice to see more card issuers allowing people to create virtual credit card numbers. But in general, I think the industry is making great steps in the right direction with card security.
Greg Johnson - Co-owner of the popular blog Club Thrifty
I'm very excited about chip and pin technology and the additional safety it will bring to all credit card transactions at it is slowly implemented worldwide. Chip and pin is technology that uses a semiconductor chip and smart card in order to make credit card transactions more secure.
One big benefit of credit cards is their superior liability protection, meaning you are generally not on the hook for any unauthorized purchases made with your credit card or account number. Chip and pin takes that protection a step further since it safely checks on the authenticity of your purchase at the point of sale.
Not all credit cards in the US have chip and pin technology right now, but the hope is that more and more cards will use it to bolster their security over time.
Eric Rosenberg - Finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California.
Of all new developments in the credit card industry, I'm most excited about the progress in digital wallets and phone-based payments. While some people may feel like paying with a phone is less secure, that isn't the case. With a digital wallet like Google Pay or Apple Pay, your credit card payment is processed using a random number called a token instead of your card number. That means your tokenized payment goes cross the payment networks without putting your real card number at risk.
As long as you use the built-in security features to keep other people out of your phone, you'll love the convenience and ability to carry multiple cards on your phone without actually carrying the physical cards in your wallet. However, because you can't use your phone to pay everywhere and it doesn't always work, we can't ditch the plastic (or metal) quite yet. But before you know it, paying with your phone might be the norm.
Andy Schuman - Writes for travel and personal finance websites and blogs at www.lazytravelers.net
What I’m excited about is emerging biometric technologies that will soon make credit cards themselves obsolete. Instead of a piece of plastic, consumers would be able to use their fingerprints or facial recognition software. Credit cards using fingerprints for identification purposes already exist, but they are still physical cards. Here is what I don’t like about that.
I carry several rewards credit cards, and I hate stuffing my wallet on the off chance I find myself at a store where I should use one particular card rather than another. And yes, there have been some “smart” cards that supposedly hold information for several credit cards, but from what I understand, they’ve all failed to deliver.
Instead, I believe, we’ll soon be able to choose which card account to use right at a store terminal after touching a sensor or looking into a camera. Yes, privacy will be a concern, and I’m sure the new technologies are going to produce new and endless privacy debates for years to come. Still, in the future the only place we’ll be able to find actual plastic or metal credit cards will be a museum. They’ll be proudly displayed behind the glass in all their glory, right next to coins and multicolored banknotes.
That having been said, I’m conflicted about what happens next. Too much technology might bring consumers more simplicity than they can bear. Almost 50 percent of Americans don’t pay off their balances every month. They carry their credit card debt and pay for it dearly – in double-digit interest rates year after year. Too much simplicity can remove the last barriers between a consumer and credit card debt – and let’s face it, there are people who shouldn’t have a credit card, just like there are people who shouldn’t drink or gamble.
How technological advances will deal with deeply human traits, emotions, and, sometimes, self-destructing tendencies when it comes to paying for things you want in life is anybody’s guess.
Jason Steele - Founder of the credit card media conference, CardCon
I think the time has finally come for a single electronic card to replace multiple physical cards. Companies like Binji have developed this technology that is durable and reliable. And while Binji essentially links all of your cards to its card, eliminating the chance to earn bonus points, I think the technology could be implemented in a way that allows you to use multiple reward cards, but just carry a single, all purpose card.