Mastercard has enlisted the help of futurologist Ian Pearson in order to identify payment methods that will be used in the coming years. According to the expert, we are at the dawn of a radical change in how we make payments. We are heading towards a society that is not only cashless, but also cardless.
The chinking sound of coins in pockets will continue to be heard for a while longer. However, it is undoubtedly the Smartphone, which will become the most used payment tool within a few years. According to a study conducted by Juniper Research, in 2019 users of phones and tablets will make 195 billion dollars worth of commercial transactions per year. The mind of futurologist Ian Pearson goes even further, imagining a world in which one may pay by shaking the hand of a seller, with the transaction being carried out via a chip implanted under the skin or via a tatoo.
Whilst this vision may seems to belong in the realm of science fiction, it may be noted that new payment methods are becoming more and more “futuristic”. Take PayPal for example. For a period of time the Internet payment company adopted Bump technology to make more money transfers by iPhone more fun. To perform a transfer from one phone to another one simply had to “bump” the two phones together. Despite some success, this technology has recently disappeared from circulation. Mastercard has gone one step further by testing a project to pay via selfie! Generation Y should be delighted. When passing through the checkout it would be necessary to open a smartphone payment application. This application would scan the face in front of it and validate the payment if presented with a match of the image previously stored on the device. This means of secure payment would be added to another: a fingerprint reader. Although this project is still in its infancy, it will become real very soon. Indeed, Mastercard will perform testing in a few months with 500 clients during a pilot program that combines face and fingerprint scanning.
One day cards and cash will disappear in favour of a complete dematerialization
All of these projects have one thing in common: dematerialisation. NFC, for example, has struggled to take off. This is despite the involvement of Apple, Google and Samsung with this form of contactless payment, usually a recipe for instant success. New generation smartphones are all now equipped, including the iPhone and Apple Watch (Apple has once again opted for a closed system, Apple pay).
In order to win over the general public, all of the innovations in payment systems must resolve the negative points that they introduce to the shopping experience, the most important of which is undoubtedly the loss of time. On the Tube (London underground) for example, MasterCard has worked with Transport for London to integrate contactless payment. Result: no need to queue to buy a ticket or recharge one’s Oyster card, a “tap” of a credit card or NFC equipped smartphone is enough to pass through the barriers. Success has been instantaneous, with no fewer than one million contactless “taps” per day on public transport in London.