Five new ways we could use credit cards in the future

In the future, you don’t need your Visa card.
In the future, you don’t need your Visa card.
Image: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
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The way we pay for things has changed dramatically over the past few years. Uber calculates your fare in real-time, and charges you as you exit the car. The newest phones have chips that let you pay with a tap.

But that’s only scratching the surface. Visa, for one, envisions a future where pretty much any device could handle a payment, and we won’t even need a phone or credit card to make it work.

To get there and beyond, the payment-processing company is looking for some outside help. On Thursday (Feb. 4) it announced that it’s opening up its VisaNet platform to developers. Considering Visa processes 100 billion transactions per year, it’s a potentially powerful tool for that community. By letting developers focus on the experience and Visa managing the payments—from processing to security and risk—change could happen quickly.

So how will we pay in the not-too-distant future? Visa CTO Rajat Tenaja, head of innovation Jim McCarthy, and head of product Jack Forestell gave Quartz a peek into where Visa thinks the payments industry is headed:

  • Paying with your hand—Morpho and Visa partnered to develop a system that lets you pay by just waving your hand. Morpho’s technology scans your hands, ties that information to your Visa card, and then lets you pay at merchants by just swiping your hand over a device. Visa will show off the technology at the Visa Innovation Lab in San Francisco this weekend.
  • Preorder cash—Visa’s technology lets you use a mobile app to enter how much money you want to take out from your account. When you arrive at an ATM, it scans your iris and disperses the money. This tech will also be on display in San Francisco this weekend.
  • Cars—Visa’s quite bullish on the future of connected cars. This YouTube video from Mobile World Congress in March 2015 shows how we’ll pay for gas, parking, and lunch all from our cars. This was only a proof-of-concept.
  • Fridges—The fridge of the future will monitor grocery purchases you make with your Visa card, and buy them for you automatically. They could even be delivered to your door by Uber.
  • AI assistants and bots—Making payments through AI assistants like Amazon Echo, Siri, and Google Now might not be far off either. Saying “Siri, get me Shake Shack from DoorDash,” and having it delivered to you is very possible with Visa’s technology. With Facebook and Slack reportedly interested in AI-powered bots, too, the potential of being able to buy anything, anywhere, is clear.