If you were asked to come up with your major gripes about supermarket shopping today, some of the following are quite likely to appear near the top of your list. Once you’ve actually traipsed round the aisles, you’ve then got to queue at the checkout to have everything scanned, only to pack it all away again and plonk it back in your trolley. You might be tempted to use the self-service tills to speed things up, but we all know that’s a road which leads to one five word sentence on repeat: the dreaded ‘unexpected item in bagging area’.
Chip and PIN isn’t perfect either: we all know the delights of having to take your card out and put it in again three times before the machine recognises that, yes, your chip does actually exist. And we’re all told to have different PINs for each of our cards, but there’s always the chance that you’ll get one set of four digits confused with another. Contactless payments have made things simpler – but only if you’re not planning to spend over £30 at once, which probably won’t cover your weekly groceries.
When you consider that the future of paying for your shopping might not involve handing money over, typing in numbers or even taking your shopping to a till, it suddenly seems like an awful lot of unnecessary fuss.
Amer Sajed, chief executive of Barclaycard, believes paying in the future will involve shop technology recognising who you are, automatically scanning your shopping and taking your payment ‘invisibly’ from your account. The end for plastic payment cards may be here even sooner, with chips set to be placed in wearable items such as bracelets and keychains in years to come. Beyond that, he believes that eye and fingerprint scanning technology in combination with smartphone technology are the next step, and may only be ten years away.
Whilst technology of this kind may raise security concerns for some, Mr. Sajed believes that advances in location and data technology will ensure that authorisation of transactions will actually become safer, making it easier to stop fraud by verifying where a customer is when the purchase is attempted. It may seem like something from a science fiction story at the moment, but if Barclaycard believe this is the future of payment technology then it looks like the days of your flexible friend sitting in your wallet may truly be numbered.