The Future of Plastic Cards

With Amazon recently unveiling the supermarket shopping experience without any cash register, the question on everyone’s mind is if this will spell the slow downfall of the plastic credit card. Wearable technology is also seen as a possible threat to the prolonged life of plastic. While these technological leaps and bounds are impressive, they are but in their infancy and they challenge a product and a process that has become deeply ingrained in both popular culture and in everyday life across multiple generations.


This could easily – though mistakenly –  be brushed aside by those who would argue that our smartphones have replaced and condensed so many products into one and credit cards are just the next to be replaced – yet there are enough substantial differences in both the customer and business experience to stem the tide of change on plastic credit cards. For that reason, Instant issuance has become a game-changer, that appeals significantly to all segments of the market.

IA360’s Instant Issuance program combines the best of both worlds by instantly printing plastic coupled with issuing mobile credentials, creating a positive in-store experience encouraging customers to spend within minutes of application.


Here are the 4 reasons why plastic cards will continue to enjoy a long life:


  1. Credit cards are a status symbol and status symbols are meant to be seen: A credit limit is just that – a hidden-from-view arbitrary decision by the bank on how well you are for increasing monetary values. To encourage that status symbol effect, banks created visibly different ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards, that have become as much a status symbol as a Rolex watch or a pair of diamond earrings. Credit cards are just as much about the display of wealth as about purchasing power and it’s hard for a digital wallet to replace that.


  1. The payment infrastructure is deeply embedded across the world: While merchant banks may find it cheaper to run digital wallet technology as opposed to consistently shipping out card machines, getting businesses across the world to throw away the reliability of telephone or broadband lines is difficult. Not everyone has reliable Wi-Fi after all – not to mention that it would take years for businesses worldwide to be able to write off their investments in their EPOS technology before investing in a new type of payment technology.


  1. Digital Wallets are slow to take hold: While Apple Pay has been going for two and a half years, wide scale adoption has plateaued. Apple Pay’s struggle to get adoption because of consumer concerns of security and sales clerks confusion over how to instruct consumers to use it. As of now, it’s not convenient for consumers because merchants do not make the budget to upgrade POS payment systems. Millennials are always keen to try new technology experiences but can fail to uptake if the ability to use them is not widespread nor the experience seamless. Baby Boomers are a generation who trust technology less with their payment information than their social data.


  1. Credit cards are simply easier to use: People find it much easier to simply swipe a card that’s valid for several years than having to worry about creating and maintaining a digital wallet, not just once but every time a mobile phone is changed. Research has shown that nearly 49% of Apple Pay users do not use Apple Pay because they’re happy with their existing payment methods. We’re far more likely to drop our phone into water and destroy it than to destroy a plastic card in our wallet, meaning digital wallets are simply not reliable and could leave you with frequent periods without access to your credit card account if your phone battery dies, your phone is lost or stolen, or you simply do not have a smartphone to begin with.


While digital wallets may gain some popularity over the next decade, it’s clear that plastic cards dominate the payments industry and are not going anywhere anytime soon. Credit cards have spent half a century in people’s wallets worldwide and for good reason: Credit cards are easy to use, and provide the best customer experience and are safer and more secure than digital wallets which is why they have been and will continue to be the most successful and widely enjoyed payment method on the market.


Consequently, IA360° introduced Instant Issuance, a global retail first and an innovative way for organizations to acquire new customers instantly. IA360° issues and activates genuine plastics and mobile credentials of CHIP and PIN enabled EMV cards.


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