Monday, November 10, 2014

The New Technology Behind Payments

Time was a person used to have to travel to the cashier’s desk at the bank every time they wished to withdraw some money from their account. Travelling to the shop only to find you have no cash? Hard luck- you should have been more prepared!

Often people forget how tedious having to pay for items and services was prior to the invention of credit card technology and internet bank transfers, but much to the chagrin of traditionalists our current crop of technology isn’t going to remain as it is for long, and all manner of new innovations are upon us that look set to change the way we pay forever!

Chip enabled wristbands burst their way onto the music festival scene for the first time this year, allowing festival-goers the ability to pay for food, drinks and merchandise with a mere flick of their wrist. The wristbands are equipped with radio frequency identification chips that contain the credit card information of the ticket holder, information that is linked to a PIN number decided upon by the guest. The system is great in that it means an end to tedious ATM queues and lost cash, however with festival goers not being know as the most financially astute individuals, the inability to easily see and keep tabs on one’s purchases could be a slight problem!

Online sites have also been experimenting with a variety of different payment options of late, shunning the traditional, expensive means of bank wiring, cheque and cash transfer methods in favour of new upstarts in the payment industry. Online gaming sites now offer free withdrawals through sites such as Neteller and Skrill, and thanks to these new means of payment funds are often in the user’s bank account within a comparably tiny 72 hours!

These are both rather banal methods, however. MasterCard and Royal Bank of Canada’s recent plans are space-age in comparison; the authentication of an individual’s identity through the reading of their heart beat. Now such plans are enough to make even the most laissez faire individual squirm in fear of a dystopian future, but the Nymi wristband could completely eliminate the need for passwords, pin codes and that most archaic of items- keys! Security is also said to be bolstered by this new system- every person’s heartbeat is different, after all- however with hackers always nipping at the tails of security firms, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think of an illicit future device that allows criminals to replicate the heartbeats of unsuspecting consumers.

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