The Emerging Technologies Of Today

Everywhere you look, someone is working on a new way to let you pay for stuff. It is obvious why: paying for stuff is the most fundamental activity in commerce, something you do many times a day, wherever you are, even at home, even in secret. Thus anyone who hits on a creative new way to get people to part with their money stands to gain a slice of an unbelievably huge market.

blog 05 July 2012

Cash is on its way to becoming obsolete and is in the process of being depreciated. Credit cards work well except when they don’t; in places with low connectivity, when you want to trade money with friends, when you don’t want to go through the process and expense of setting up a merchant account, and when you’d prefer to carry a phone instead of a wallet.

How will we pay for things fifty years from now? About all we can know with confidence is that it will be different than it is now. Technology is sure to develop in directions we can only imperfectly foresee. Moreover, the public will immediately adopt some new ideas and will resist others. Although it is dangerous to predict the future, there are a few emerging technologies today that look like they will grow in the coming years.

Few consumers carry only a single credit card. Many wallets become crammed full of plastic cards, each with its own logo, embossed numbers, and set of merchants who accept it. From the standpoint of making transactions, all that is needed is the card number and type, expiration date, and some means of authenticating your ownership of the card. It is now possible to load the relevant information from dozens of cards onto a cellular telephone or a “smart” card.

The question I ask then is whether the card is really necessary?

If all that credit cards really do is give account information and authenticate your identity, do we really need it at all? It is not too far-fetched to imagine one day walking up to the teller, putting your finger on a fingerprint identification device, and having a computer display a list of accounts that you can use to pay. Simply choose the account and effect the payment. Hmmmm… I personally think that would be a great idea. You see – no need for the card!

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