New Technology Makes Shopping With Your Credit Card Easier

Most of us can’t remember a time when credit cards weren’t a part of our wallets.

Remember the Diner’s Club card?

Credit cards actually go back to the 1920’s when gas station attendants wanted to provide a system of payment for the increasing amount of automobiles on the roads.  The first cards were made out of card stock making them easy to counterfeit but as is the case with every good idea, evolution took over.

As of this year, of the households who have a credit card balance, the average amount of debt is $15,956 per household which equals total outstanding balances of $609.8 billion nationwide.

The evolution of the credit card is far from over.


As mobile technology moves from its infancy to adolescence, the credit card industry is hoping that we’ll begin paying with our cell phones using near field communication.  This technology allows users to enter a pin on their phone and use it to pay for purchases by running it over a sensor.

Isis is one of those technologies.

Isis allows you to set up a virtual wallet that holds all of your credit and debit cards as well as other payment cards and using NFC, or near field communication, your phone can serve as your method of payment using the credit card you choose.

Google Wallet

Similar to Isis is Google Wallet.  Also using NFC, you can link certain Citibank credit cards or a Google prepaid card to your Google phone (it must have NFC technology) and pay for items with a tap of your phone at Google Wallet-enabled merchants.

Google Wallet is also able to store participating gift cards and loyalty cards (you know, those little plastic thingys you put on your keychain).  It will also integrate with Google Offers, their daily deal site.

Retailmenot and Cardspring

credit card shopping technology

Is the physical credit card soon to be a thing of the past?

Another company helping to evolve the traditional credit card is Cardspring.

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Cardspring created the website, retailmenot.com.  Instead of having to keep track of coupons, gift cards, and loyalty cards, retailmenot will apply the coupon directly to the charge once it appears on your credit card statement.  You don’t have to remember to bring the coupon or worry about how much money is left on your gift card.  Instead, the balance of the gift card is applied directly to your credit card balance.

The same technology works with frequent flyer and other rewards cards. Instead of having to remember to provide these numbers, when you use your credit card at certain merchants, the rewards card is automatically applied to the purchase.

In theory, this sounds like a very useful way to use your gift cards and promotions.

American Express

American Express wants to be the card that is most social media friendly and it has taken steps to reach that goal.

American Express has partnered with Twitter to apply coupons and discounts when their credit card is used for a purchase.  By tweeting a certain hashtag, the consumer is entitled to a discount on that purchase.

For example, on March 6th, 2012, American Express offered $20 off of your first purchase at Whole Foods of $75 or more if you tweeted the hashtag, “#AmExWholeFoods.

Finally

Some of these technologies are in their infancy.  The problem with NFC technology is that not many phones are capable of near field communication but even more important, experts continually raise security and privacy concerns making the technology slow to catch on.

Aside from that, credit cards are continuing to evolve from those card stock cards from the 1920’s, but evolution often comes about because thieves have cracked the current technology.

Soon, you may not have to carry credit cards at all and we may have the credit card thieves to partially thank for that.

What do you think about the new technologies that make shopping easier?

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Published or updated April 6, 2013.

Comments

  1. I’m all for anything that makes my life both easier as well as more secure. American Express actually started their “social media friendly” phase last year when they started allowing businesses to use their rewards points to purchase Facebook advertising credits, which I thought was a brilliant idea.

    I experience the NFC issue with PayPal and my Evo 4g right now. Every time I start the app on the phone, I am reminded that the service is not available to me but it doesn’t make a difference at this point. There are always going to be obstacles to overcome but if anything worthwhile comes along, someone will find a way to make it a safe and viable option.

  2. I didn’t realise there were so many changes ahead. It probably won’t be too long before the traditional credit card is seen as obsolete. We seem to be moving in the direction of increasingly using non physical money. It probably won’t be all that long until physcial cash is a thing of the past.

  3. Although I’m somewhat excited about the new technology, it makes me a little nervous. I think the more detached we are from the physical act of paying for stuff, the more money we’ll spend.

  4. Julie @ Freedom 48 says:

    I can’t remember a time when I paid for stuff in cash!
    My credit card is way too convenient – I use it anywhere it’s accepted.
    We don’t ever carry a balance though. I check the credit card balance online weekly, and pay off every bill in full.

  5. Hopefully NFC tech here in North America will soon catch up to what Asia has been using for years.

  6. Young Professional Finances says:

    It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come! I’m still waiting for one system to come above the rest so everyone gets on the same one – right now, there are too many systems in their infancy to choose one to use.

  7. Thanks for the update on changes with credit cards. I guess we are not far away from a time when credit cards in their current form as we know them today will be replaced with new technology. Great for convenience, as long as they manage to incorporate good security measures.

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