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The Future of Credit Cards: No More Plastic

There's a battle raging in America, and it’s not one involving weapons or violence. Rather, the fray is seen in the corporate world, and it’s all about our money.

Now, we’re all used to marketing efforts that encourage us to buy from one company instead of another, but this is a different fight.

This isn’t about where we spend our money, it’s about how we spend it.

Near Field Communication

Attention around Near Field Communication is growing throughout mainstream media. Even so, many are unaware of its existence and future possibilities.

Simply put, Near Field Communication (NFC) is the ability for two wireless technologies to communicate with one another, typically requiring a proximity of four centimeters or less.

There are dozens of innovative, remarkable uses that could, and eventually will, come from NFC. However, there is one focus being highlighted, underscored, put in bold font, and circled by way of the companies struggling to be front and center with this technology; Google, Apple, Visa, Mastercard and others see NFC as the way of the future.

Demonstrating his vision for NFC, Google CEO Larry Schmidt states: “I’m walking down the street and I need pants. My phone has an NFC chip. It knows where I am. It tells me about two stores, one to the left with a 20% discount and one to the right with a 30%. It is programmed to know I am a cheapskate so points me to the right and the store knows what pants I want.

“You don’t think this is going to work, guys? Trust me, this is consumerism."

Financial Responsibility and Protection

The above-mentioned companies are hoping to replace the plastic in our wallets with a chip in our phone. No longer will we have to heft those cards around. Then again, no longer will we have that second thought of, “Do I really need this?” or “Can I afford this?” as we physically pull out our wallet and figure out which credit card to swipe.

Admittedly, the progress in technology is inspiring and encouraging. Fifteen years ago, the Internet was a complete luxury. Now, we want to pull our hair out if it takes more than two seconds for a page to load. With advances like Near Field Communication, who knows where we will be 15 years from today.

However, greater ability demands greater responsibility. When reading a quote like Schmidt’s, it is almost assumed that we are expected to take our brains, logic, and thoughts out of the buying equation; our phone will “know” what we need and help us make the decision to purchase. As if our financial situation wasn’t dire enough already.

I’m not saying that I feel NFC shouldn’t become the norm. I'm actually saying quite the contrary. But with its implementation, we desperately need more financial education - beginning with our youth and continuing through to the elderly. We each need to better understand loans, credit cards, interest rates, and so forth. And we must understand how to properly use them to our benefit.

And let’s not talk about what happens if we leave our phone somewhere...Identity theft protection, anyone?

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Comments

jeffg's picture

Parts of it make me nervous as well.

Expect a gradual conversion. Some phones already come with the capability, for example, and there is a lot of talk that the Iphone 5 & Androids will have the NFC chips from here on out. The rest of the phones should follow suit.

I imagine it will be similar to the CD integration in cars. At first we saw CD players slowly added to cars, along with the tape decks, of course. Whereas today new cars no longer have tape decks, and it is nearly unheard of to not have a CD player.

Deedra's picture

Sounds all nice and techie, but I don't think the majority of Americans are quite ready to give up the plastic in our wallets. It makes me nervous.