The Future Of... Credit Cards
February 14, 2011, 7:09am PST | Length: 00:03:57
They're a modern-day must. Anyone who's ever forgotten their credit card at home or worse, lost it, knows exactly how crucial that piece of plastic truly is. With rampant fraud and ID theft though, most cardholders are equally aware of the risks. But what if the account number on your card disappeared when not in use? ZDNet correspondent Sumi Das explores payment innovations from Dynamics, Square and Bling Nation.
Background noise Sumi Das:The 24 million locations accepting credit cards worldwide, it's plain to see how Americans end up charging over two and half trillion dollars each year. Convenience comes at a cost though, these plastic cards are easy to lose, and common targets for theft, but in the future, the way we pay may be simpler and safer.
Background noise Sumi Das: Since it was first introduced in the '50s, the credit card has changed, but a major overhaul is in the works, thanks to technology developed by Pittsburgh based Dynamics. Speaker 2: Card 2.0 is a next generation payment card platform that has an entire computer in, in a card, it has a battery, it has a number of chips, a micro processor, a buttons displays. Sumi Das: Even the magnetic stripe has been revamped. Speaker 2: Our cards have a inaudible stripe, called the electronic stripe that can change on the fly, any bit of information. Sumi Das: Because it's rewritable, a single card could store multiple accounts, to switch accounts, user press the button next to the corresponding account number on the card's front. Speaker 2: For example, you may see a debit card and a credit card on a single card, you may see a corporate credit, and a personal credit account on a single card. Sumi Das: But, what if you loose that one, all important card? The technology offers added security. Speaker 2: In order to turn the card on, you have to enter an unlocking code that only you know, into the face of the card, you enter the right unlocking code, then your number's displayed visually. After a period of time, the display turns off, and the stripe completed erases itself. If the card's lost of stolen, it's irrelevant, it's a dead piece of plastic. Sumi Das: Bad news for credit card hackers, welcome words for card holders. Credit cards won't just function differently in the future, you'll be able to use them in more places. This plug in device can turn a tablet PC, or Smart Phone into a point of sale for your plastic. Accepting credit cards can be costly for merchants, especially small businesses, like Mission Minis in San Francisco. Speaker 3: Merchant accounts charge you between 35 and 50 dollars a month to rent the gear to use to take credit cards, and usually you have to sign up for a three to five year lease. Sumi Das: Enter square, which charges per transaction, but forgoes contracts and monthly fees. Just insert the card reader into your phone or tablet, download the app, and customers are ready to swipe and sign.
Background noise Sumi Das: And, they can opt to get receipts by text or email, no bulky, pricey hardware, no complex setup. But, will we even use credit cards in the future? Kuppa Cafe in Palo Alto accepts cash, credit, and bling. Speaker 4: You pick out your bling tag, and you just have the blinger, the cashier will actually enter the amount that you're transacting. Sumi Das: Bling tags link to Paypal accounts, but they also share information on Facebook, offering business owners a unique glimpse at analytics. Speaker 4: You can go in online on your Bling Nation Facebook dashboard, so you log in, and you say, okay, so from now on, in the, for next hour, if you come in, I'll give you four dollars off any order, or I'll give you 50 percent off anything, because I'm really slow, I need to get people in. Sumi Das: The future of credit cards, a smarter way to charge it. For ZDNet, I'm Sumi Das.
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