Plastc: A Front-Runner for our Post-Credit Card Future?

Credit cards are a major part of everyday life, with countless people using them to make purchases every day. The only problem, of course, is the room that they take up in the wallet, especially for those who carry a number of different cards.

Quite frankly, carrying a dozen-plus cards is a problem for many consumers, but there are a number of new technologies that aim to alleviate this issue in the near future. In the coming years, we could see wallets and purses become credit card-free, as all-in-one payment innovations take over the landscape and make it much easier to keep track of a variety of payment options.

Here are just a few of the most promising prospects.

Plastc

One of the newest innovations is the Plastc card, which is a single credit card that is just 0.8 millimeters thick and can link all of your credit and debit cards together. The idea is that all of your information would be stored on this card and then you simply scan the card and choose which account you want to use to pay for the transaction, using a tiny e-ink display.

The great thing about this card is that it would be accepted everywhere because it uses barcode, magnetic stripe, chip and PIN, RFID, and contactless technologies. This means that no matter what type of machine the retailer uses, the card would work.

Plastc uses a few different security methods, starting with a secure PIN. It also comes with photo ID, proximity alerts – which will let you know if you are ever away from your card – and even remote security that allows you to wipe all of the data from your card should it ever go missing. This technology is accessible from your phone, so you don’t have to return home to your computer to make these changes.

The card is battery-powered (the charge lasts for 30 days) and can hold up to 20 different cards through its Flash memory system. All in all, this product does check off a number of boxes for what people want from their credit cards because it could make life much easier for consumers.

You can read more about Plastc here.

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Apple Pay

Those who don’t wish to carry cards at all might want to take advantage of what Apple has to offer through its Apple Pay technology. The program, which runs on the new iPhone 6 (and the upcoming Apple Watch), allows you to use your phone to pay at businesses that offer contactless payment options. The iPhone 6 has a Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna, which is what it uses to communicate with the retailer’s terminal. All the consumer has to do is swipe the phone at the terminal and the payment is sent.

Setting up Apple Pay is relatively easy, as it uses the Passbook program to store your credit and debit card information. This is done through the iSight camera, which you will use to capture your credit card information. If you do not wish to use iSight, you can simply enter your credit card information into the phone for it to be stored.

Coin

The Coin card is very similar to Plastc, as it holds all of your credit card information on a single card. The main issue, however, is that it only works in swipe credit card terminals. By October of 2015, all retailers will have to upgrade to card readers that support EMV chips. As a result, Coin will be behind the times unless its technology is upgraded soon.

On the positive side, Coin does offer a number of great security features, such as alerting you whenever the card is a certain distance away from your phone. This ensures that you will know if the card is taken by anyone, giving you the chance to lock it before any of your accounts can be accessed.

Near Field Communication

Many different phones have NFC technology, allowing them to communicate with card readers much like Apple Pay does. Not all banks support this technology, but it is becoming more prevalent and an increasing number of people rely on their smartphones.

In basic terms, this technology allows non-Apple users to pay without the use of their credit cards. While this technology has been around for quite some time already, it remains to be seen how it will compete with the other products that are currently on the market.

So what about you? Are you thinking about your own post-credit card future? Are you excited about one of these new technologies? They hold a lot of promise – the only question remains: which one will the general public flock to?

Image Credit: Sean MacEntee (via Flickr)

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