In the modern world many people will go out shopping, to the cinema or for a meal with just a credit or debit card. Today the need to take money out is not so popular and if you took a survey you would most probably find that more people are carrying less cash as their credit or debit card can do everything that they need it to do. There used to be charges to using your card for anything under £10, this then was reduced to £5 and now you will find that many places have dropped this charge altogether and will allow you to buy anything with your card, even if it is just a few pence.

Chip and Pin


Chip and pin replaced having to sign your signature at the till for using your card. Due to people forging signatures they believed that a Pin number which could be changed by the card user was much safer than signing a receipt. Chip and Pin was first trialled in Northampton in May 2003 with much success. In 2004 Chip and Pin was advertised across the rest of the UK as the safer way to pay. By 2005 most retail outlets had installed chip and pin machines at the till point so that customers could easily pay for items using their credit or debit card.

Contactless Payments

Contactless Card Payment

For those that may be familiar with the London Oyster Card, where you can top up your card with a certain amount of credit and then use it as you wish, Contactless Payment cards work in a very similar way. The card is made with an embedded chip with an antenna which can send a frequency. At the point of sale customers can hold their card over a reader or card machine which will then take the correct amount of money for the purchase.

Near Field Communication

Smart Phone Payment

Near field communication adopts a similar method to contactless payments, however instead of using a credit or debit card, you use a device such as a smart phone. The user will load their card details onto their phone which can then be used to make payments on the phone and in various retail outlets. When you are ready to pay for your products at the till you simply wave your smart phone over the reader and it will take the money from your account, this being the smart way to pay.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay

With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014, Apple introduced Apple Pay. Apple Pay uses Near Field Communication so that users can use their iPhone to pay for products in various retail outlets. This is still a growing form of payment, therefore some retail outlets have not yet integrated this system into their point of sale. Apple Pay is supposed to be a safer way to pay not only whilst using your phone to buy things on the Internet, but to also use it in certain places that accept this form of payment.

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Amazon Firefly Technology

Amazon have recently released their very own smart phone with firefly technology. Those that use the Amazon Fire phone can point the phone at almost anything and the phone will tell you exactly what it is that you want to know. There may be a film on television which you have just managed to see the last 10 minutes of and want to know what is is, you simply point the phone at the screen and the Amazon phone will tell you. Not only does the phone tell you which film it is, the phone will also give you the option of purchasing that film through Amazon itself. Amazon have been very clever with this new technology and putting it into a smart phone, as many times when we are out shopping we open up the Amazon App to find out if a product is cheaper to buy online. With the Firefly technology you just have to point your phone towards the product you would like and it will automatically tell you what it is and how much you can buy it for.


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Payment Apps

Many banks and building societies offer their own App to their customers. This means that customers can easily access their bank accounts through their smart phones. If there is not enough money in your current account then transfers can be made instantly through the banking App. If you remember that you need to make a payment and don’t have access to a computer then this can also be done on your smart phone, which also saves a trip to the bank which we would of had to do not so many years ago. Banking Apps can make payment safer as the user must always enter their Pin and may sometimes need to use a card reader to verify certain payments. It would only be if they were to give their Pin number away that someone else could access their account.

The Future

Not so far into the future we will no longer need to take a wallet or purse out with us to go shopping, to the cinema or out for a meal. We will simply just need to take our smart phone. The smart phone is slowly becoming the smart device of the future, the device that we will be able use as a form of payment as well as use to control the heating in our home. Soon we will be able to start the engine of our car by using our smart phone.