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Smart Cards or Mobile Payment, Can smart cards survive?

Not too long ago the Chip Card was being highly touted as a key technology for the 21st century.  Otherwise known as a Smart Card, it was the technology that would replace paper money, help stamp out fraud, and bring to consumers a whole new world of home banking. However, years after its introduction consumers in the United States still haven't seen pervasive use of the new technology, and most would be hard pressed to tell you what one looks like.   

Cell Phone and Smart Card ImageThe smart card, primarily marketed as a replacement for existing credit/payment cards, makes use of a small microchip embedded in the card to store valuable data. This data could provide retailers with shipping information, demographic data, and fraud prevention data that would help prevent the use of a stolen card.  For consumers, the card could store your transactions, which could then be uploaded into personal finance software to enable more elaborate personal finance monitoring and reporting. 

Today consumers are starting to be exposed to smart cards by such companies as American Express, which recently introduced its chip card under the brand name Blue.  However, the smart card has also made inroads into consumer hands via GSM Cell Phones and Digital Satellite Receivers.  For these products the Smart Card provides instructions to the device on service options and digitally signs outbound signals to prevent fraud.

With smart cards just starting to move into the public eye can they capture enough market share to stave off competition from newly emerging wireless payment systems? Already in limited use throughout Europe, consumers can by a snack from a vending machine or pay the parking meter simply by pointing their wireless device and choosing to buy.  Enabled by new wireless protocols and platforms such as WAP, G3 and Bluetooth, wireless devices will soon connect to and negotiate payment with a wide variety of consumer oriented machines.  With this new payment option purchases could either show up on your monthly cell phone statement or be billed to an account you specify via a menu on your phone.

What do you think, share your thought with us?

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