There are approximately 13 billion debit and credit cards held by seven billion people. Even though there are nearly twice as many cards as cardholders physical card demand is experiencing explosive growth. Consumers continue to diversify and segment their credit and debit card benefits even as they increase their payments with gift cards, prepaid cards, healthcare line cards, etc. The physical card market has grown materially each year.
Payment cards have a deep history. In the 1800s, merchants started issuing metal tokens to customers engraved with a customer-specific number that would give access to a credit line. These metal tokens evolved into metal plates and then paper cards before eventually becoming the plastic cards we know today.
As soon as there were cards, there were security features. The first security features are nearly 100 years old, when personal data was stamped into metal charge plates. In the 1970s, the magnetic stripe was chosen over a competing optical stripe technology because it was harder to counterfeit and could be re-written in the field for added functionality.
Cards are now transforming in more ways than ever imagined. No longer are they just placed in physical wallets, now they are being loaded into cloud-based wallets for online stores and mobile-based wallets for phones and other wearables. And consumers continue to demand even greater functionality from their everyday payment instruments.
An evolutionary re-design of the modern credit card achieves both cutting edge security and functionality. By putting a computer inside of a credit card, new levels of intelligence can be achieved – even interacting and sharing data with phones and other wearables. By adding buttons to the cards, a truly interactive experience can be realized where consumers can select various payment options for different types of purchases.
Dynamics and MasterCard have partnered to continue one of payments’ oldest pastimes – card innovation for enhanced security and functionality.