Barclaycard unveils plans for paying using your mobile phone,key fob or fingerprints
By Rebecca Camber
Last updated at 2:01 AM on 09th September 2008
Once you wouldn't leave home without it. But the credit card could soon be cashing in its chips.
Experts predict that paying by plastic will make way for payments by mobile phone, key fob or even fingerprint.
Like the cheque book, video cassette and CD before it, the plastic credit card could be on the way out within five years, according to leading financiers.
Yesterday Barclaycard, which introduced the UK's first credit card in 1966, announced it was pouring millions into developing 'contactless payment technology'.
The group has already developed a credit card that can be read without having to be taken out of a wallet.
It hopes to take contactless payments a step further with chips that can be inserted into mobile phones, enabling shoppers to buy items by simply holding their handsets over them.
The purchase would be confirmed by tapping a PIN into the phone, with no need to go to the checkout.
There is even talk of customers paying by fingerprint or eye recognition in the future.
'The chips on credit cards now have incredible untapped capability but the plastic around the chip limits its potential,' said Barclaycard chief executive Antony Jenkins.
'Take the plastic away and the possibilities are endless, allowing the customer to pay by using something that they are already carrying, be it a mobile, key fob or even via biometrics.
'In time you won't have to carry a plastic credit card around with you if you don't want to, although some people will choose to for nostalgic reasons.'
The credit card company envisages customers being alerted to special offers in nearby shops through their mobiles, which they can then use to pay.
The idea is that a customer could hold his handset over an item, such as a sandwich, to get the price and the number of calories displayed on the screen before deciding whether to buy.
'If I had said to you ten years ago that you couldn't pay with a cheque at the supermarket, you wouldn't have believed me,' Mr Jenkins said.
'That is now the reality and we see plastic cards going the same way eventually.
'It’s possible we’ll see an end to plastic in the next five to 10 years with new technologies to take its place emerging now.
'It could turn out to be one of the shortest lived payment methods in history, going from being ubiquitous to a museum piece in the same way as the video cassette.'
Last year Barclaycard unveiled its first contactless credit card, OnePulse, which enables customers to buy items for less than £10 by touching their card against a sensor, without having to take it out of their wallet. The card also acts an Oyster card on London transport.
The firm has already introduced a hole-in-the-wall cash machine in the United Arab Emirates at which customers use their fingerprints to withdraw money.
Credit card fraud experts are less enthusiastic about the developments.
Andrew Goodwill, from security firm Early Warning UK, said: 'There are always concerns about new types of payment technology.
'I would urge caution as just like we have seen most recently with the chip and pin system, there are going to be flaws and we need to ensure contactless payment technology is secure before it is rolled out to everyone.'
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