The use of cards is becoming more widespread; so much so that Spain was in 2004, according to the Bank of Spain, the European country with the largest network of ATMs and point of sale terminals. The use of cash is restricted to smaller and smaller expenses and the convenience of not having money with you is the main reason why this happens. In the case of business trips, cards greatly facilitate the management of expenses, but how long have cards made it easier to pay for our goods and services?
IT ALL STARTED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY…
Frank X. McNamara, Director of the Hamilton Credit Corporation, came up with the concept in 1950 when, at the end of a dinner, he found himself penniless. So he decided to create a card with which he could pay in many establishments, making it easier for the latter to retain and attract customers.
Such was the success that he decided to found a company that would act as an intermediary between companies and their clients, so that the payment method could be made more easily. That’s how Diners Club was born, a great idea born during a dinner.
In 1950 Diners Club delivered 200 paper cards that could be used in fifteen restaurants in New York, allowing their owners to make the payment through a bank bill. Such was the rise of the concept that, at the end of the same year, Diners Club card users multiplied by 100, reaching 20,000.
This card grew 8 years without competition. From that moment on, when more banks joined this trend, the system grew spectacularly and cards took root in American and global society. Its use in Spain was not generalized until the 1980s.
THE PRESENT OF CARDS
Almost 60 years after its appearance, new forms of payment continue to emerge, each time faster, simpler and more secure. The magnetic stripe is being forgotten and the more secure chips are gaining ground. The one that has spread the most in recent times is contactless, contactless payment that is made simply by bringing the card to the dataphone –with NFC technology–, and even payment with a selfie.
With online banking, alternative forms of internet payment to the card have emerged, which increasingly provide more security to the user and adjust to the preferences of each buyer. Many of the websites that allow card payments include authentication systems that verify the identity of the user, since many are still reluctant to buy online.
For these consumers who do not want to provide their bank details, there are other options such as the well-known PayPal, Google Wallet or Paymill. These options are platforms in which the payment is linked to a bank account, so that the user only has to enter their access codes.
THE PAYMENTS OF THE FUTURE
Everything points to the fact that the system that will acquire more prominence in the coming years is NFC –Near Field Communications–. Thanks to it, two devices can exchange data by proximity; in this case, bank details to make a payment.
Possibly technology will end up banishing plastic card and cash but, for the moment, and despite the fact that the new systems are increasingly more comfortable and innovative, these two models are deeply rooted in society and far from disappearing.
WHAT IF YOU TRAVEL?
For all those people who travel frequently for business reasons, the use of corporate cards is widespread and new technologies do nothing more than facilitate their use, eliminating barriers and streamlining processes. If, in addition, your company has a Travel Account, all expenses will be centralized and its management will be a much easier task.