Phil MeekinView Profile
Advances in technology over the years have made our life easier in many ways with devices, apps and the internet itself. Chip and pin and contactless debit and credit cards make it easier to pay for our goods without having to carry cash and they have all but wiped out cheques. However, it could become even easier for you to pay for your shopping, as Barclaycard has recently revealed.
Being able to head to the supermarket, do your weekly shop and leave the store without having to queue at a till could be the future for us all according to the bank and global payment business. For this to work, technology would recognise your presence in the store, automatically scan your shopping for you and take payment for the goods from your account.
Amer Sajed, chief executive of Barclaycard, spoke to the BBC regarding this latest announcement for the technology and banking industries. He said; “People will be able to seamlessly shop going between the web, an app or in store,”
Like the introduction of plastic cards in 1966 slowly saw the demise of the cheque book as well as less and less people carrying cash, the introduction of this new wearable technology will likely see a demise in the plastic card.
The ease of the system and having all banks and payment methods in one place is bound to be a big advantage for many but there will inevitably be worries surrounding security of information and money.
As the software and the system will work alongside wearable technology, there are concerns about whether the technology will work and the likelihood of losing or breaking the ring, bracelet or keychain Barclaycard have showcased to date. These items will contain a chip which will allow the customer to make a payment on credit.
Mr Sajed feels that this technology will help people to be identified by an eye scan or their fingerprint, located via their smartphone and able to shop without queuing. He has also made clear that for those not wanting to use this technology, cash and cards will still remain an option for them.
A background link between payment system and individual will need to be established in order for this to work. However, this kind of link is already in practice with companies like Amazon and Uber, where only a single click is required because bank details are already registered.
However, a major issue for charities regarding these announcements is that they only focus on payments on credit. They argue that credit payments are not the best option for making day-to-day payments for a significant majority of people.
They argue that using credit cards for everyday spending can easily spiral out of control sending some into debt. Although 80% of credit card spending is repaid in full the following month (according to the UK Cards Association), around 1.6 million repeatedly only make the minimum repayment every month pushing them further and further into debt.
Head of Policy at Stepchange, Peter Tutton, spoke to the BBC about this issue; “just making minimum repayments on credit cards… can give a false sense of security and a sense that the debt is being well managed, whereas the balance and repayment period are both growing… All too often credit cards stop being the short-term borrowing they are designed to be and become long-term and expensive debts.”
As changes in technology continue to change our everyday lives, usually for the better, and with mounting pressures on the credit card industry over the way it operates, there are bound to be new developments entering the market. Whether this vision of the banking future takes off or it’s just another technological dream remains to be seen but it sure to get many people talking regardless.