Neither buyer nor seller has the time to be messing around with payments. Once a deal has been agreed, whether you’re simply buying a coffee from a stand, or organising the takeover of a multi-million pound business, you want the payment to go through quickly and easily. It’s no surprise then, that with every generation of technology, we’ve looked to make processing payments that bit better for everyone.
The advent of the internet was one of the first major changes in a long time – being able to bank online has meant that things like cheques are almost a thing of the past. It takes minutes to log on and make a payment to someone. You don’t need to mess around with pens and paper or even leave your own house to cash the cheque.
Now things are heating up again as more and more people and businesses get on board with the idea of contactless payments. They’re sweeping across the world rapidly, and could eventually mean that we don’t really have the need to carry cash around – it may well go the way of cheques.
We’ve of course got the ability to pay for things via chip and pin on a credit card, but it’s often not as quick as handing over some change. Contactless changes that is.
Speeding up the process
Speed is of course the main target of these technological developments, and contactless is surely as good as things are going to get. You can now simply swipe your card or smartphone past a payment device to pay for your goods – it’s incredibly easy.
Security is certainly a concern for many, but issuers and providers like VISA and Apple are working to make sure that it’s not an issue. Payment machines used to be expensive too, which put off small retailers, but if you look at specialist retailers such as Card Cutters, you’ll see they’re always coming down in price.
So where will things go in future? Well, at this stage the question is probably whether new contactless credit cards or smartphones are going to be the main methods of payment. As things stand you can choose between either for many different shopping outlets, but’s it’s very likely that one will become more prevalent.
While you might expect the smartphone to be the one to take off (because almost everyone has one anyway), it is credit cards that are currently in the most widespread use, likely because they’re cheaper to produce.
It will be interesting to see where the world of payment goes. We may well have ourselves a Blu-Ray / HD-DVD fight on our hands, but what is certain is that in the next few years, paying for items when we’re out shopping is going to be much easier for both us and the retailer.