Notes and coins seem anachronistic

Notes and coins seem anachronistic

Apart from the introduction of polymer banknotes back in the 1980s, Australian cash has remained largely the same since its creation. Now, rapid advances in technology are making the concept of crinkled pieces of plastic and metal coins seem anachronistic.

The latest payment method to garner widespread public attention has been contactless payments. Customers can pay for purchases at the point of sale by simply tapping their credit or debit card on a compatible terminal. For lower-value transactions, even a PIN is not required.

Contactless payment systems typically make use of near-field communication (NFC) technology that allows transactions to take place when the card or phone is within a few centimetres of a terminal.

Sophisticated encryption and other safeguards are used to ensure transactions remain secure and accidental payments are rare.

As well as the contactless systems offered by major credit card companies, technology companies are also becoming increasingly active in the area. Apple has introduced Apple Pay, Samsung has Pay and Google has launched Android Pay.

The three systems work in a similar way, tying a user’s mobile handset to an existing credit card account. Rather than needing to produce the card, the user can instead touch their handset on the terminal. Depending on the type of phone and service, the user may also have to swipe their screen or use the phone’s fingerprint scanner to confirm their ID.

Jason Williams, founder of crypto currency company BitPOS, cautions that the biometric component of electronic payments, such as fingerprint use, is yet to be completely secured and there is still cause for some caution.


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