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Futuristic credit cards straight out of the X Files!

Last updated on: February 17, 2011 15:24 IST

Futuristic credit cards straight out of the X Files!

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Exhibitmag.com

Get set for a whole new range of credit cards. Plastic cards will be passe soon. They will be replaced by the next generation of credit cards, which is all set to make its debut!

It is primarily security concerns that are driving this innovation in the art of making payments.

The black magnetic stripe that is found on the back of the billions of credit and debit cards circulating around the world can easily be duplicated and even hacked. However, the data stored in the new breed of credit cards will be much more secured and more user-friendly.

The forthcoming cards would carry a small microprocessor inside it. It will show a portion of the account number only when the cardholder enters the PIN.

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Photographs: Exhibitmag.com
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Pay by rewards

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It is in the news that Citibank in USA has already started testing a card since May 2010, which is being termed 2G as of now, that carries two buttons and tiny lights, and can allow users to pay by using their reward points or with their credit account at any establishment.

The important point is that even though these 2G cards from Citibank are of the same thickness as the cards that we use today, they can accommodate a battery with a 4 years life, an embedded chip and, of course, the buttons, through which the PIN can be entered.

In November some selected consumers in USA received their 2G Citibank cards for testing.

However, this card also carries the magnetic strip to facilitate transactions in majority of the outlets. The only extra facility that it offers is the ability of choosing the mode of payment -- through cash or through reward points.

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Driving innovation

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Dynamics Inc. of USA has developed the Citibank's 2G card.

This company is currently engaged in developing many different types of cards with minicomputers in them. Another card currently under development by Dynamics Inc. allows cardholders to have multiple accounts on one card, like a credit and debit card.

So instead of holding too many cards in your wallet, you could carry just one, which is capable of accessing many different accounts. But it is not yet decided when the process of sending such advanced cards to different consumers will commence.

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Fingerprint technology

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How about having fingerprint technology embedded in your credit card!

That means, even if you lost or misplaced it, no one could be able to use it, as only you can have access to your fingerprint.

The Shinhan Bank of Korea is currently testing a card, which can read fingerprint information through a biosensor embedded in it.

In order to avoid errors, the credit card and the bank's database hold about six different fingerprints of the cardholder. Going beyond credit cards, these days there is even the talk of a payment system that is embedded inside the human skin!

So when you need to make a payment, all you need to do is wave your hand in front of the scanner. Voila, transaction complete!

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Use your mobile

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There also exists a very real possibility of our handheld mobile phones taking over the role of credit cards.

We have already become used to taking our mobile phones wherever we go, so why not start using them like credit cards. To make a payment just wave your mobile phone in front of a scanner and the amount will get debited.

This does sound super cool, and for the mobile companies this could mean an additional source of revenue. After all, every time you swipe your credit card at a terminal, the issuing bank gets from 1 to 3% of the entire transaction amount.

Many mobile firms are striving to develop ways by which transactions can be facilitated through mobiles. With major players active in this filed, we could soon have access to a new avatar of the credit card, one that is less costly, and more secure and convenient.

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