Today, consumers are experiencing an explosion of choice when it comes to how they shop, pay, interact and conduct commerce. Every day, new financial and commerce solutions are introduced with a promise to simplify and improve customers’ lives, and change how fundamental aspects of banking, retail commerce and commercial transactions take place. We already know that people are using less physical cash and that this trend is only going to continue. The fact is that cashless card and smartphone payments are on the rise, especially throughout Europe. For some people, their phones are already their wallets. Mobile wallets are mobile applications that enable financial transactions. They help us to send payments for things we want to buy with just a few taps on the phone and have a few obvious advantages over physical cash and the plastic credit cards.
- Ease of use – It’s like a one click pay with no need to fill in card numbers and passwords every time.
- Ease of access –There will be no need of physical wallet like we do in the case of cash or cards.
- There will no issue of asking or searching for change which we have while handling cash.
- It will be possible to make instant payments. Just like we can exchange cash at any moment, we can exchange and transfer money anytime.
- There would synchronization of data from multiple platforms. Bank accounts, credit and debit cards, mobile accounts and bills – all will be interconnected and help in better management. It’s like everything is under one roof.
- And not lastly, there will be no worries of forgetting our “wallet”.
Of course, mobile wallet innovation has it’s disadvantages like network problems and the fast internet connectivity is not available in some countries. The mobile wallet technology does not cater to needs of the entire population. After all it’s an app on a smart phone. In India, for example, a lot of the population is using simple cell phones.
Nevertheless, digital money is safer to carry around, especially if you need to make larger payments. They also record transactions well – handy for those of us who tend to ask ourselves “where did my money go?!”. Some countries, like Sweden, are even actively trying to remove cash in circulation. It’s completely logical. We can buy most products and services online these days via our laptops and mobile devices. It’s easy to link this process to our bank accounts and online payment processors. Recent trends show that digital money kept in mobile wallets will soon replace not only the physical cash, but the credit cards also. And here comes the question:
Are the days of the plastic credit card numbered?
The plastic credit cards have evolved since 1966, but the basic procedure of payment has remained the same. A card is either handed over, or the number on it is read out or entered into a machine. More and more the virtual credit cards make their way through the technology of the payment industry. They function in the same manner as traditional credit cards, but with additional capabilities for improving compliance, control, security, and automating the reconciliation process. A lot of benefits are helping the virtual credit cards replacing the physical ones:
- Security – A plastic credit card is at risk of being lost or stolen or, if our employee still has their card, the number can be recorded and misused by other parties. With virtual cards fraud is almost impossible. It cannot be stolen, and to peep the card number and its PIN is impossible as well.
- Mobility – We can pay for the goods anywhere. The only thing we need is the Internet access. We will not face a situation where we forget the card at home and we have to return to take it.
- Time-saving – Getting a virtual card takes far less time.
- Cost – Typically, the cost of a virtual card is much lower comparing to the bank one.
The future of the plastic credit card industry is difficult to predict and it will hold many more unknowns for the credit card commerce, but one thing is for sure:
The “Next Generation Virtual Payments Platforms Transforming Card Payments” is real and it’s happening right now. Banks, retailers and merchants alike are rapidly adapting to the new payments landscape. We are on the threshold of a brave new world of payments.
So… Are you in?
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