Great post on Wired.com about the future of credit card hardware.
The Day Will Come When Your Credit Card Will Disappear
by: Klint Finley
published: June 7, 2017
Visa is one of the most recognized brands in the world. Its logo is synonymous with the plastic forms of payment for which the company is still best known.
The ability to pay for things with a debit card or your smartphone instead of having to carry around cash (or something to barter) is sort of miraculous. For nearly the whole of human history, and in many parts of the world still, economies have been built on the premise of physical mediums of exchange. If Visa’s innovation chief Jim McCarthy has his way, Visa itself may soon become invisible.
“The magic of Uber and Amazon, they made payment kind of disappear,” McCarthy said at the 2017 Wired Business Conference in New York today. (Visa is the conference’s main corporate sponsor.)
Naturally, McCarthy wants Visa to stay at the center of the payments ecosystem, even as the consumer-side of paying for stuff becomes less visible. And to do that, he says, Visa has focused on making it easier for tech companies like Apple and Samsung to tap into Visa’s services.
As an example, when you use something like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, the software actually creates a unique card number for each of your devices. So if you have an iPhone, a Samsung Gear watch, and a debit card, each one of those has a unique card number tied back to your bank account. If one of your accounts is compromised, new numbers can be created for the devices in the background without you ever having to know about it
Eventually, that that could mean the end of having to manually change your credit card number with every different service every time you get a new card.
To make all that work, the payment apps actually have to communicate with Visa’s servers to generate and process card numbers. It’s not hard to imagine more radical scenarios, like the ability to simply walk into a store, take what you want, and leave without having to worry about the entire payment process. When that finally happens, Visa wants to be there, making all the hard parts of sending and receiving money around the world look easy.