Over the years, payment cards have grown to be the most popular payment method worldwide. Payment cards are replacing other payment methods like cheques and cash quickly. In fact, a 2017 report showed that more than 44% of the world’s population uses debit cards. And there is no double that this number has tremendously grown over the years.
During the 1950s, card issuers started developing payment cards. And yet debit and credit cards continue to be the number one payment choice globally. The incredible features of these cards have made them one of the enduring forms of payment.
Some of these features include convenience, security, and even versatility. Also, most cards have partnered with processing companies like Visa and MasterCard. And thanks to these companies, you can use your card almost anywhere in the world.
Several factors have resulted in the increased use of payment cards. One of these is the shift from in-store to online shopping. Similarly, this shift has also resulted in the development of virtual cards. Thanks to virtual cards, you can allow for one-time online transactions.
Another factor that has propelled payment cards is the Covid-19 Pandemic. Due to this pandemic, most people now prefer online purchases to in-store.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, some countries started moving to cashless transactions. Some of these countries are Australia and China. Yet some nations seem to be behind and yet to catch up with these countries.
According to some 2021 reports, most people opted for cashless payments during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Most people feared the risk of contracting the virus because of handling cash.
Additionally, the number of ATM users significantly reduced. At the same time, the number of mobile payments increased.
What Triggered The Change From Physical Cards To Digital Cards
After 70 years of physical card usage, most card issuers are now converting to digital cards. Over the years, the number of credit and debit card users have gradually increased since 2000. And this is thanks to the convenience and security offered by these cards.
While in the pandemic, these cards also showcased their dominance as a payment method. Additionally, the number of debit card users increased in the process. However, this was short-lived due to transmission issues associated with these cards.
Additionally, the growth of e-commerce in the world has also pushed the use of payment cards to its summit. Due to this growth, card issuers have seen it necessary to issue virtual credit and debit cards.
These cards are the exact copy of credit and debit cards. However, they are more convenient for online transactions.
Evolution of Payment cards
Up to now, payment cards have evolved to be the best payment method globally. One incredible development is their ability to blend with mobile applications easily.
Most credit and debit cards have become mobile-centric. This involves controlling most of the card features through a mobile app. These mobile apps allow cardholders to manage their cards depending on events.
For example, crypto debit cards like Club Swan and BlockFi come with an app or portal alongside it. Thanks to the app/portal, users can check their transactions and their cards’ security.
The security measures equipped in these apps are next-level. These measures include biometrics, passcodes, and two-factor authentication.
Also, in case you lose your card, you can change passcodes and even report card loss. Also, not to mention the ability to freeze your card when needed.
This technology is still making its baby steps in the Fintech spectrum. However, the expectations are that it will entirely change the way we look at payment cards.
When it comes to fiat currency, one good example is Apple pay. Apple showcases how a physical card can be appealing by changing how users interact with it.
The users can set up their Apple Pay app provided they have an Apple ID. Afterwards, the users can perform cashless, contactless, and cardless transactions with their iPhones.
So far, digital wallets have seen significant developments. Thus there isn’t a doubt they’ve become the backbone of payment cards.
Over time, payment cards have continued to perform their function. However, digital wallets have made them more efficient and secure.
Yet there are other major developments expected for both credit and debit cards. One of these developments is the use of AI and bots to carry out payments.
Some existing AI assistants include Siri, Google Now, and Amazon echo. If this technology succeeds, you can easily make transactions through voice command.
The Feel and Look Factor
So far, credit and debit cards provide users with remarkable convenience and improved security. However, there’s still a long way to go for these cards to become extremely convenient.
Also, fraudsters are still becoming more creative as the days go by. According to a BBC report, fraud cases significantly increased during the pandemic period.
In fact, the report said more than 6,000 fraud cases saw a loss of about £34.5m. Therefore, there is still a need to make the security of these cards as perfect as possible.
On the other hand, experts believe there’s a need to protect the environment and make it more sustainable. And to ensure this, card issuers have to do away with plastic cards.
So payment cards made of sustainable materials will play a significant role in protecting the environment. These solutions include making cards from ocean plastic. Also, not to mention recyclable and biodegradable materials.
Also, with utmost certainty, most credit and debit cards are pretty much similar in design. And this makes them so unattractive. Thus most card issuers are starting to vary the designs of payment cards.
What are the payment Methods likely to replace payment cards in the future?
The Fintech world is evolving at a super-fast rate. So there is a high probability of other payment methods replacing debit and credit cards. Expectations are that these methods will be highly convenient and super secure.
Here are some of these payment methods.
Nowadays, most smartphones have incorporated a fingerprint scanner as a security measure. This technology is one of the few that are yet to get incorporated into payment methods.
Besides fingerprinting identifications, there’s also pupil scanning. This technology will come in handy if you want to secure your cash or crypto.
In short, this means you don’t need to have a card to make any payments.
These are also known as smartphone wallets. They mostly come in the form of downloadable apps. These digital wallets are Square cash, Google Wallet, and PayPal.
Digital wallets can connect to your bank account or crypto wallet. So thanks to these wallets, you can make contactless payments. Also, thanks to NFC (Near Field Communication), you can connect to store terminals and make payments.
This might not be new technology. However, it’s likely to make its way into the Fintech space. Also, this technology is likely to be highly evolved than usual.
For instance, the usual voice tech might not recognise the uniqueness of our voices. However, in Fintech, this tech will recognise our voices with ultimate ease.
This technology will have the ability to break down voice recordings into segments. Then it will proceed to analyze the voice using set algorithms. And thanks to these algorithms, they will precisely recognise different unique voices.
Over the last few years, microchips have grown to be popular. One of the reasons is that these chips are almost impossible to hack.
Also, unlike other trending payment methods, they are absolutely contactless. If you have a microchip, you’ll certainly not require a phone or card for your purchases.
Sweden is a good example of a country where these microchips have popularly grown. In fact, a fifth of Swedes no longer use ATMs, thanks to these microchips.
Also, many others are willing to get a microchip implanted in their hands. This allows them to pay for goods and services anywhere they go conveniently.
For some time, smart accessories have been in the Fintech spectrum. One of the most popular smart accessories is a smartwatch.
Some of the smartphone manufacturers are the biggest producers of these accessories. These include Samsung and iPhone. Thanks to these watches, you can make payments without a card.
These accessories also use NFC technology to make payments. All you need is to hold your smartphone close to the in-store terminal when making payments.
Another benefit of these watches is they can pretty much do anything a smartphone can do. So it’s not a surprise if this tech overtakes that of credit and debit cards.
All in all, it’s no doubt that payment cards will face some modifications in the future. So, it’s up to the card issuers to ensure these cards advance and meet peoples’ requirements.