How will payment card technology advance in the next few years?

Recent widespread hacks of consumers' credit and debit card information have underlined the need for updated card technology. While digital payment services and European cards provide examples of more advanced payment processing technology, traditional payment cards in the United States have been slow to incorporate these advances. This is expected to change quickly over the next few years, however, with the Boston Globe predicting that "credit card users will likely be much better off by the year 2020."

Here are a few ways that cards are likely to improve in both security and convenience:

  • Chip and PIN technology should become the global standard. This technology has been rapidly expanding in the U.S. over the past few months alone, and will probably be a standard regulation for payment card security in the future. Microchips will replace the magnetic strips in cards, and requiring a PIN for card transactions will help to reduce the risk of fraudulent purchases.
  • Digital payment methods may replace physical cards. Existing mobile options like Apple Pay have not superseded traditional cards, but they may well in the future. A customer would simply have to carry their phone to access a digital "card," or could use fingerprint readers.
  • One card could be linked to all of your credit accounts. Such cards already exist, but are expensive and not widely used. The option to carry only one card, however, is expected to become both common and easily affordable.

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