(CU)_The pandemic, which launched a digital transformation across the globe, led a major shift in payment trends in the past couple of years, triggering a slump in the use of cash. Many consumers and businesses increasingly relied on credit cards for online transactions, or using chip-and-pin technology, or tap-to-pay contactless systems. But those transactions are still happening on infrastructure built for the previous generation of swipers. Therefore, the industry is upgrading itself to keep up with consumer tastes while ensuring security and protecting the privacy of users.
The most obvious development today is the shift from…
the familiar wallet-shaped horizontal credit card to the new vertical configuration that’s faster and easier to use. Explaining the rationale behind this change, Cowyk Fox, an executive with South African bank Absa, said: “Think about how you use your card when you make purchases. When you hand over your card to a cashier, tap it to make contactless payments or dip it into a point-of-sale machine, you’re likely holding it on the short end, vertically.”
Echoing these views, the senior vice-president of digital products at MasterCard North America, Sukhmani Dev, told CBC News that a portrait orientation is easier to tap. “From a user’s standpoint, it’s good design for many reasons,” she noted.
While the new design may add a dash of design pizzazz, the real reason behind the development is what’s happening on the back end. According to Dev, tap-based vertical cards go a step beyond what was offered by older systems, since unlike swipe cards, they are backed by a technology known as ‘tokenization’. As a result, the identifying information that is exchanged by the cardholder in a transaction is unique for just that one transaction, making it much harder for a fraudster to intercept any sensitive data that would allow them to compromise an account.
“If you lose your card, instead of your Netflix being cancelled, we replace that sensitive 16-digit card information with a unique identifier, which the merchant can still use to do a transaction on, but it’s not your actual 16 digit number,” Dev added. “It’s dynamic.”