Imagine a future in which shoppers pull up to your checkout counter, wave their credit cards or mobile phones, and then walk out with their purchases.
It almost sounds too good to be true.
The future is here. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have all launched their own contactless payment technologies, and there are now a host of mobile-ready apps that allow transactions to happen with a wave of the phone.
Traditional swipe & sign credit cards are quickly being phased out in the United States. In their place are Chip & PIN credit cards — a new payment technology that offers greater security and fraud protection.
This transition isn’t only happening in the United States. Chip & PIN credit cards have already become the standard in most parts of the world, with the U.S. being the last major market to reach full compliance.
EMV credit cards are the wave of the future. But that future could be very expensive.
Short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, EMVs are a relatively new type of credit card equipped with embedded security chips designed to prevent fraudulent activity. It's no longer enough to copy down a user's 16-digit card number. The plastic (and chip) must be physically present at point-of-sale registers in order to make a purchase:
Writing paper checks at the cashier counter used to be the standard payment method for in-store purchases (second only to cash). Using these checks can be a bit inconvenient for those standing behind you in line, but we've all done it (or know folks who have).
The days of paper-based checks are numbered. The United Kingdom has already begun phasing out paper checks completely. And even in the United States, the federal government will no longer issue Social Security payments via the postal system.
In place of paper-based checks are electronic payment options that offer: