Payments are becoming simpler. Mobile payment systems or person-to-person payment applications like PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay, and WeChat Pay lets you pay for services and purchases without using cash or cards. Nikki Hesford who runs her own marketing support company told BBC News that she only uses cash to pay her manicurist. She notes that it has made going out with friends easier: “One person will pay on a card and the others will transfer through an app. It takes seconds rather than minutes fussing around with who owes what.”
PayPal UK’s head of consumer and marketing director, Alison Sagar also explains how you no longer need to waste time trying to find a cash machine to withdraw money, settle a debt, or transfer funds. “All you need is a mobile number or an email address, and in a few taps you can send money, just like a text message.” Yet even mobile payment systems may soon be out of date.
This year, an expert in blockchain-powered payments predicted that biometrics payment will take over. Nuggets CEO and founder Alistair Johnson explained: “Fujitsu and Singapore-based Touché are currently trialling payment terminals that incorporate palm or finger scanning technology, and California’s CaliBurger is testing a system that lets customers serve themselves after linking their faces to loyalty cards”. With biometrics payments, you no longer need to remember passwords and pin numbers, as your fingerprint will be enough to authorise the payment.
Fingerprint recognition is already quite common, with mobile phone owners using it to open applications and make purchases in app stores. The Independent notes that soon users will be able to use their fingerprints, faces, and even their voices to pay for their purchases. Experts believe it’s more secure as it prevents thieves from stealing an individual’s identity. Your physical characteristics serve as an identifier, which makes transactions more secure than pin numbers, passwords, and security questions.
Mastercard is already working with UK banks so they can issue biometric bank cards with fingerprint scanners that can be used anywhere. In fact, Mastercard has already started trialling the biometric card in South Africa in 2017. Visa is already testing biometric cards in Cyprus. Howard Berg, Gemalto UK managing director explains how it works: “When the finger is put on the sensor that is sent to the chip, the chip takes a look at the fingerprint that is stored and compares it to the one that is given”.
Some experts argue that a biometrics card won’t be necessary if you can already pay with your smartphones, wearable devices, and contactless cards. But despite the hesitation, there’s no denying benefits like increased security, especially since pin numbers and passwords have a higher risk of getting stolen from a database. Payment companies are still trying to find a better way to incorporate the biometrics system when it comes to making payments, but at the rate things are going, credit cards might be obsolete sooner than you anyone had imagined.