For more mature markets, like the U.S., where cards are ubiquitous as payment forms, Murphy said customers are looking to increasingly interact with their cards, with additional features and services, such as alerts and discounts and retail offerings.

But a central question remains for MasterCard and other payments firms, particularly as platforms including mobile payments and Apple's ( APPL) iPad take off in popularity, what will the credit/debit card of the future look like?

Murphy gave several predictions:

¿ Physical cards will continue;

¿ However, cards will shift from a "plastic box" into mobile devices, for example. Consumers will be able to put their card functionality on their phones and other smart devices and be offered a greater set of interaction experiences;

¿ Prepaid cards will become the "light checking account" for a segment of consumers; and

¿ For affluent customers, continued innovation by the payments industry to build "rich consumer value propositions, focused on travel and travel benefits on their cards."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Laurie Kulikowski.

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