Technology Trends and Card Processing

In 1730, the first advertisement for credit was placed allowing furniture to be purchased over time. Almost 200 years later, Western Union issued a metal plate to their employees instead of a paycheck. Of course this card was only good in company owned stores. It was not until the 1950s that Bank of America issued the first revolving credit card. Credit Card Processing Technology has expanded quite a bit since then.

Technology in the credit card processing industry has grown tremendously in just the last 5 years. Merchants are able to accept payments using any java enabled cell phone, and can even turn their laptop into a credit card terminal. But the best is yet to come.

Google recently announced the Android smartphone, and Visa is planning to develop e-payment applications for the device. This technology will allow merchants to receive notifications of account activity to their mobile device, locate ATMs that accept Visa, and Google maps to quickly locate a wide arrange of merchants to redeem visa rewards.  Soon, you will be able to make purchases at retail locations using your mobile smart phone.

Visa also plans to release a money transfer pilot program by the end of 2008, which will allow Visa cardholders to use their mobile phones and PDAs to send funds directly to another visa card holder. I guess you better make sure you are not dialing the wrong number.

MasterCard is introducing Chip and PIN.  Instead of swiping a card with the magnetic strip on the back, you will insert a card that has a computer chip embedded on the front. Instead of signing to verify a payment, you will enter a PIN.

PayPass is MasterCard’s “contactless” payment technology. A tap of your card is all it takes to pay at the checkout; however your purchase must be under the pre-specified floor limit.

I am still a big fan of Biometrics. I believe that we will be able to pay for items using our finger print or a retinal scan. Although there have been recent failures by some companies to create the technology, my opinion is it’s the future of payment processing.