Forms of payment have always reflected the technological levels and the social ideals of the societies that they were used in. For centuries, precious metals were used as currency. As time went on and as ideas regarding currency changed, the way that financial transactions were made changed as well. Instead of changing precious metals for commodities, payment notes were created that were backed by gold or silver.
Recent changes in payment technologies have made it so that in many instances when an individual purchases a product, the only thing that they exchange with the seller is information. These types of transactions are done via credit cards and with the use of merchant accounts. Many wonder, as society progresses and as technology continues to grow, what might be some of the payment technologies of the future.
MasterCard, a respected name in the world of credit card processing, began research just about a decade ago into replacing credit cards with the ADS chip. The idea was that this chip would be implanted in the skin of its owner. It would then allow people to use their hands to complete the types of transactions that they were previously only able to complete using credit cards. There has been very little movement forward on this idea, but since the technology exists, it is likely that it will eventually be implemented.
Cell phones and other hand-held devices are beginning to figure prominently in financial interactions. A good example of this is the actions being taken by Target to remove the point of sales devices from their stores. Part of their plan to do this includes allowing customers to purchase the items that they want directly from the aisle that they are in. By simply scanning the QR code using the handheld devices, a customer in the future will be able to purchase the product and immediately have it shipped to them. This would make credit card processing all but obsolete.
Undoubtedly, the future of credit card technology is also going to include ways for individuals to purchase the products that they want anonymously. Secret, untraceable credit card transactions appeal to many. Many simply do not want others, including those in charge of the merchant account associated with credit card processing, to know what it is that they are purchasing. As more and more pressure for this type of privacy grows, it is likely that steps will be taken to make anonymous purchases a reality.