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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Top 5 Buzzwords for Payments

This has been an exciting week for payments. First, a Forrester report predicted that U.S. mobile payments will grow to $142 billion over the next five years. Then, the Oxford Dictionary named “contactless” a top contender in its shortlist for 2014 Word of the Year. We couldn’t agree more (except, maybe if they’d given it the top rank)!


We are geeking out over the fact that payments lingo is going mainstream. In our view, there are a variety of up-and-coming buzzwords to look out for in 2015 that are worthy of new or broadened definitions themselves (we’re looking at you, Oxford Dictionaries!). Here’s our rundown of the top five buzzwords for payments worth knowing in the year ahead:

  • Tokenization (n.): No, we’re not talking about the kind of tokens you needed to ride the subway. This term is used to describe technology that replaces information (say, your credit card number) with a special code or “token” unique to you. On its own the information is useless to fraudsters. We should know – MasterCard helped to pioneer this technology!
  • Chip Card (n.): If you haven’t already, you’ll be hearing a lot more about EMV or chip cards in 2015 as new rules and standards go into effect. Aesthetically similar to the card with the magnetic stripe in your wallet today, this card features an embedded microchip which helps prevent fraud and requires you to “take your chip, dip, and that’s it” at the point of sale, versus the swiping action you make today.
  • Digital Wallet (n.): Surprisingly, Oxford doesn’t include this phrase in its dictionary today. We all recall the episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza’s wallet overflows. The digital wallet is the electronic solution to the bulky physical wallets we carry with us today. We define it as: “An app, desktop web or mobile web experience enabling consumers to make safe and secure purchases sans physical cards or – the worst bulky wallet offender – cash.”
  • Hackathon (n.): These events have been on the rise in recent years as technology companies like MasterCard gather alongside developers and other innovators to collaborate and transform ideas into realities. For us, hackathons have proven an effective way to actualize innovation, where developers and other techies build on technologies such as MasterCard’s APIs.
  • Biometrics (n.): This term is described as the use of human characteristics and traits to serve as a way to authenticate a person and therefore initiate an action, like a payment. You will hear our industry refer to “biometric payments” as way to describe new secure ways to pay using inimitable personal features such as fingerprints and retina scans, or even your heartbeat.


Did your favorite payment buzzword make this list?  Let us know.