The Credit Cards of the Future

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Banks and credit card issuers may be beefing up their digital offerings, but it's going to be a long time before the plastic credit card disappears.

While efforts are being made to move away from plastic, consumers are reluctant to adopt mobile payments because they're unclear of the benefit they provide and security concerns persist. Many people also don't have the technology -- to make mobile payments you need a smartphone or other mobile device equipped with an NFC chip, the mobile equivalent of a credit or debit card's magnetic strip (which is actually more secure, since the codes associated with them change periodically).
The functionality of credit cards is evolving, even if the plastic itself remains the same.

"To work the average consumer away from their cards is going to take a while," says JJ Hornblass, executive editor of the blog Bank Innovation. "Plastic works. It's hard to get consumers to change payment methods."

This isn't to say the credit card itself isn't evolving. There has been a big push by several issuers, particularly Visa ( V), to move U.S. cardholders onto EMV chip cards, which are programmed to change their verification value each time a purchase is made. The cards, which are more resistant to counterfeiting than magnetic strip cards, are already widespread in Europe. They have yet to catch on in the U.S., largely due to the fact that merchants don't have terminals equipped to accept them.

Beyond these chips, many financial technology companies have developed products that build upon the plastic payment method as we've come to know it. These cards feature, among other things, dynamic magnetic strips, contact-less payment capabilities and buttons that let cardholders toggle back and forth between various accounts.

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