Personal Finance. Money. Investing.

Today, thanks to digital leaps, our banking tasks are as simple as sending a text. A great example? Getting a credit card free of any cost. It used to be a maze of paperwork and patience. Now, with banks like Kotak Mahindra, it's a breeze. A few taps, and a bit of typing, and you're set.

Why Opt for Kotak Mahindra for Your Credit Card?

Choosing where to get your credit card is a bit like choosing a dining spot. You'd pick a reliable place, that offers variety, and perhaps gives great discounts. That's Kotak Mahindra Bank for you in the banking world. They're not just any bank; they've earned their stripes and trust over the years. Their credit card options? There’s something for everyone. The ease, the benefits - it's a choice you'll thank yourself for.

Eligibility Criteria Comes First

Think of getting a credit card like planning a trip. You wouldn't just hop on a plane without checking visa requirements, right? Similarly, before shooting off that credit card application, there are some boxes to tick. For starters, banks, including Kotak Mahindra, have a set of eligibility criteria. This usually revolves around your age, income bracket, and sometimes, the city you reside in. Then there's the paperwork. It's not as tedious as it sounds, promise. Keep handy proof of identity, address, and recent income statements, and you're good to go.

Securing Your Kotak Credit Card in Just Three Steps

Getting your hands on a Kotak credit card isn’t some long, drawn-out epic. It's more like a short story, with just three concise chapters:

#1 - The Online Advantage:

It starts on Kotak Mahindra Bank's sleek website or its user-friendly app. Look out for the credit card section, dive in, and key in the specifics they ask for. It’s mostly basics like your name, occupation, and income details.

#2 - Documentation Needed:

Remember the prerequisites we talked about? This is where they come into play. Kotak Mahindra Bank offers a smooth ride here. You can either upload scanned copies of the required docs directly or, if you're a tad traditional or just love human touch, schedule a doorstep pickup. A representative will swing by, collect what's needed, and give you a smile to boot. The mantra? Keep things crisp and clear for a seamless verification process.

#3 - The Approval Process:

Once you've hit that 'submit' or ‘credit card online apply’ button, behind the scenes, Kotak Mahindra Bank's efficient systems are bustling. They're assessing your details, making sure everything aligns. If all's good, you'll get a nod of approval in no time. And before you know it, your brand new credit card is zipping its way to you. The wait isn’t long, and once it's with you, activation is a cinch.

Key Features of Kotak Credit Cards

A Kotak credit card is packed with features to help you in nearly every financial situation. Firstly, every time you swipe, you aren't just paying; you're earning too. With every purchase, reward points stack up, waiting to be redeemed. And if that isn't enough, some sweet cashback offers come your way. Think of it as a little "thank you" for every transaction.

Furthermore, if you're a shopaholic, you'll relish the special deals. Kotak Mahindra Bank's partnerships with brands bring exclusive discounts right to your fingertips. And fear not, with Kotak, security isn’t an afterthought. The bank equips its cards with advanced protective features. Should you ever hit a snag, their customer support jumps into action, ready to steer things right.

Squeeze the Most Out of Your Kotak Credit Card

Owning a Kotak credit card is like having a ticket to an exclusive club. But, you'll want to strut in and use all its facilities. For starters, use the card responsibly. It's tempting to go on a spree, but timely payments ensure you reap the benefits without drowning in debt.

When Kotak Mahindra Bank rolls out those exciting promotional offers, take them up! They're designed to give you maximum value. And here's a pro tip: Link your card with your Kotak Mahindra savings account. Not only does it make payments a breeze, but it also lets you monitor and manage your finances seamlessly. It's like having your cake and eating it too!


The banking world is in a state of constant flux, moving from crowded queues to a few clicks. It's an era of convenience. And in this digital parade, a Kotak Credit Card isn't just a participant; it's leading the march. Look it up, apply now, and let Kotak elevate your banking journey to levels unimagined.

People have to buy a lot of things every day, and the convenience of such tasks is important. But payments are usually followed by carrying a lot of cash, different cards, and other stuff. This is the reason why many people try to keep their funds online. 

And today, we are going to talk about the main advantage of Apple Pay. It is time to see what are the main benefits of using this service for all types of routines.

Apple Pay Is Simple To Use

The main advantage of Apple Pay is that it is extremely simple to use. This is the default application that you don’t even have to install. The main advantages are the following:

Even the user with average skills will be able to use Apple Pay successfully. However, the website has a lot more features to offer. 

The Accessibility Of The Service

A lot of people use Apple Pay daily, and with it, they can access the app whenever and however they want. This is because this application has a lot of great advantages, that provide you with great convenience. 

Apple Watch opens a wide range of services, and people can pay with it both online and offline, which makes this service extremely beneficial. 

You Can Add Any Sort Of Cards To This Service

The service is available for all iPhone users, and it works with all types of cards to make the experience comfortable for you. For this reason, Apple Pay can support:

Also, different prepaid cards can be added. It also comes as a nice option, which can help you while you are on a business trip. 

But if you were wondering about the security measures, you can be sure this application is fully safe. First, to use your card, you have to enter all the information about it. Such information is not available to third-party sides. Secondly, if you lose your phone or someone steals it, they will not be able to use Apple Pay without Face ID verification. Very comfortable. 

How to get started?

If you have a co-branded card solution provided, you can use Apple Pay by following these steps:

It's worth noting that the availability of Apple Pay may depend on your co-branded card solution partner's policies and partnerships, so it's a good idea to check with them to ensure that you can use Apple Pay with your specific card.

How To Use Wallester With Apple Pay?

If you are interested in what service will greatly complement Apple Pay, there is an answer for you. Wallester is a brilliant co-branded solution for people who want to improve the experience of using Apple Pay

All these features come in one ready-to-go solution. As you can see, this application looks like it was created to sync with Apple Pay. And, you can both use it for both your work and spare time.


Organisations have had to rethink their entire business models, new players have sprung up seemingly from nowhere, and consumer behaviour has completely changed. Of course, more transactions are now taking place online and the use of cash is dwindling.  

But while digital payments are dominating the ecosystem in regions such as the Nordics and the UK, there are some key markets in Europe where there is still a way to go. Both Spain and Germany, for instance, still have fairly low rates of card usage and digital payment adoption with cash still used in around 40% of in-person transactions in Spain, rising to 44% in Germany, according to figures from PCM. 

However, while these statistics suggest that digital payments still have a long way to go in these markets, it could also indicate that a boom is set to happen. Indeed, the growth seen in the Spanish e-commerce sector, for example, and Germany’s creation of a common standard for open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) through the Berlin Group suggest that further revolutionary changes could be just around the corner. Kriya Patel, CEO of Transact Payments, explores the massive untapped potential of the Spanish and German markets, highlighting the opportunities for innovative incumbents and agile new players. 

Spain: Modernisation will drive a boom in digital payments

Spain, flag, payments

Spain has a developed payments market, with 86.3 million credit, debit and charge cards used by a population of 47 million for 5.58 billion payments with a value of €210.56 billion via 1.7 million point of sale (POS) terminals and more than 115,000 online merchants. But as mentioned above, cash use remains relatively high suggesting there are still opportunities for cards to replace cash.

The foundations for huge growth in digital payments already exist. Spain’s three major payment systems merged into a single provider, SistemaPay in 2018. As well as rationalising the previously complex infrastructure, Spain’s banks and regulators have upgraded and modernised the technologies that power their payments system. This has led to the enablement of instant payments and other services, while regulatory sandboxes have provided a catalyst for trials of new payment methods between FinTechs and banks.

While all European markets saw a rise in e-commerce during COVID-19, Spain enjoyed the fastest growth in this sector among all Southern European nations at 15%, with e-commerce accounting for double the proportion of national GDP compared to the UK, at 4.5% compared to 2.25% of total GDP.

As well as e-commerce, contactless transactions for in-person payments grew during the pandemic. Spain’s smaller merchants are continuing to open up to electronic payment both in-store and online.

Having previously been something of a desert in terms of opportunities for payments players — largely because of its bureaucratic systems and standard debit-led card portfolios — the outlook is now much brighter. The modernisation of its payment systems and speed of digitisation means issuers could be set for a boom in business over the next three to five years.

Germany: Embracing PSD2 to drive massive growth

Germany, flag, payments

Meanwhile in Germany, the growth potential is even more obvious. While the country is unarguably Europe’s economic powerhouse and a global leader in banking, there is still relatively high use of cash, while card use is not as high as some other regions, with 153 million cards held by a population of 84 million people — just under two cards per person. These cards were used for 6.29 billion payments with a total value of €350 billion via 1.15 million POS terminals and online in 2019.

Like Spain, there are solid foundations for digital payments players to build on. Digital transactions are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 11% in the next few years. While debit cards are most commonly used to pay online, low digital wallet use at just 7% suggests an openness to new solutions other than wallets.

Germany has not sat on its hands when it comes to embracing the EU’s PSD2 regulations. The Berlin Group has created a common standard for open APIs, opening the way for innovative players to muscle into the payments market. With a high number of permissioned intermediaries now able to deliver payments services thanks to the new regulations, smaller companies in Germany now have better options for accepting payments, reducing their reliance on more expensive third-party players.

There are also plans to bring together Germany’s various instant peer-to-peer (P2P) and person-to-business payments schemes. Instant payments are experiencing very rapid growth in Germany, though with only 20% of banks offering this function the room for growth is obvious. Look out for “PayX” — a merger between schemes like Geldkart, Paydirekt and Kwitt — in the coming months and years.

Overall, there look to be plenty of opportunities for players in the payments space to take advantage of in these two key European markets. While restrictive infrastructure has previously made these two nations something of a challenge for payments innovators, recent regulatory and systemic changes coupled with public appetite for new services make Spain and Germany an exciting place to be right now. 

Whilst UK banks are already trialling the biometric credit card, consumers must be made aware of the wide range of benefits biometric payment cards have to offer for biometrics to be embraced as the next generation of payment technology.

Below David Orme, Senior Vice President at IDEX Biometrics ASA explains how biometric fingerprint authenticated payment cards will bring new levels of security and convenience to the payment market, taking the bank card into the 21st century.

Biometric technology continues to gain momentum in many areas of our lives. Earlier this month, NatWest became the first UK bank to trial a biometric credit card, which will see consumers carrying out contactless payments using their fingerprint, instead of a PIN, for authentication.

As similar trials take place around the world, we can expect this new payment technology to become an everyday necessity within the next year. But as biometric smart cards start to roll out, consumers may wonder, “why do I need another form of payment technology?”

The reality is, biometric fingerprint authentication cards bring many strengths that will make our payments, and therefore our everyday lives, more secure. With fingerprint authentication cards starting to land in people’s wallets, payments will soon become the area where consumers interact most strongly with biometric technology on a daily basis. Consequently, it is vital to make it clear to consumers just how much they stand to benefit from biometric-enabled payment cards, to encourage rapid adoption and ensure their successful roll-out.

Advanced levels of security

The biometric payment card has been developed to bring new levels of security to payment transactions. Fingerprint authorisation links a particular person to their payment card — as, for transactions to be processed, the owner’s fingerprint has to be matched on-card. This connection to the owner’s physical identity reduces the potential for payment fraud and improves authentication security, for both card-present and card-not-present fraud.

Biometric fingerprint payment cards also provide end-to-end encryption, securing the user’s card and their biometric data, which never leaves the card. This ensures hacking and breaches of fingerprints aren’t scalable.

Biometric payment card technology will also integrate with the expectations of Strong Consumer Authentication (SCA), part of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), a new European regulatory requirement to tackle online and payment fraud. For consumers, this currently means providing at least two factors of authentication such as a PIN, or a one-time passcode, are combined with the possession of a payment card, even for contactless payments.

But with biometric payment cards, the card owner can authenticate with the non-intrusive method of placing their fingerprint on the sensor while tapping their contactless card on the PoS system. This will allow users to benefit from the flexible, convenient factors of secure authentication, rather than having to remember PINs.

Making payments more convenient

While consumers value the extra security biometric smart cards bring, it’s important for this new payment technology to be as convenient as possible to ensure wide-spread adoption. Therefore, biometric-enabled payment cards need to deliver significant security improvements with very little impact on the current contactless experience, or changes to user behaviour.

Of course, consumers have been shopping with payment cards for decades and understand how to use them. Likewise, the majority will already be familiar with fingerprint authentication, thanks to its near ubiqui­tous use on smartphones, to unlock devices or to authenticate mobile payment app transactions. This familiarity and comfort with the technology reduces the barrier to adoption of biometric payment cards.

With this new payment method, a user will replace PIN entry with fingerprint authentication for all transactions. The fingerprint sensor is conveniently positioned on the card, taking into account the typical way a consumer will hold it when completing a transaction to minimise any change to the payment process.

With this new payment method, a user will replace PIN entry with fingerprint authentication for all transactions.

Importantly, existing PoS retail infrastructure must still be used to ensure smooth roll out of biometric authentication cards. This is because consumers are already used to the technology, as well as to minimise the need for additional investment from retailers.

On top of this familiarity, the shopping experience will likely become even more convenient with the adoption of biometric payment cards. By adding secure fingerprint verification to the payment authentication process, contactless transaction limits could actually be increased or even eradicated en­tirely, meaning users can benefit from not having to remember PINs, and can pay via secure contactless for all transaction values.

One card to rule them all

Nowadays, the average consumer has multiple cards weighing down their wallets, from debit and credit cards, loyalty schemes, contactless public transport tickets, IDs, healthcare cards and more. This seems out-dated in an age where we expect to do so many things all from one smartphone.

In smart phones, biometric technology is already used to securely access many different applications, including banking and payment apps. In much the same way, this multi-application authentication process can be incorporated in a physical payment card with a built-in biometric fingerprint scanner. This will reduce the number of cards in a person’s wallet, making it faster to tap-and-go securely for many different transactions, all from one card.

Achieving top-of-the-wallet status

Today, consumers expect more speed and convenience from their services, and the same applies to the payment process. They’re looking for a transaction procedure that is fast, secure and free from hold ups. Adopting biometric fingerprint authentication will help achieve this, making payments more beneficial. This will also allow banks and financial institutions who introduce this technology to achieve top-of-wallet status with their cards.

Overall, biometric fingerprint authenticated payment cards will bring new levels of security to the payment market, taking the bank card into the 21st century. Through biometric fingerprint-authentication cards, consumers can access the best in terms of payment security, convenience and usability. As a result, now is the time to embrace this new form of payment technology.

From workforce expenses to high value transactions between buyers and suppliers, the market that supports the initiating and acceptance of card-based business payments is big and growing. Below Pat Bermingham, CEO of Adflex, asks whether fear of the unknown is holding firms back.

According to Mastercard, Visa and American Express, commercial card payments hit a five year high of US $2 trillion in 2018. Companies that cater to these types of transaction rightly see opportunity and are investing in new solutions, like virtual cards, which simplify the management of a company’s payments, increase usability through mobile apps and online portals and reduce operating costs, all through a range of powerful new digital features.

Yet some businesses remain hesitant to adopt virtual card technology. Why? It’s a problem of perception. Businesses - finance departments in particular - associate change with risk and, fearing technical complexity, often shy away from adopting new tech. This is a mistake; there are big value gains to be had with comparably little cost and disruption.

What are virtual cards and why are they cool?

Essentially, a virtual card functions in the same way as a normal credit or debit card, minus the plastic. Making this leap gives companies far more than a bit of extra space in their staff’s wallets. By going digital, the cards themselves can be endlessly reissued, and the rules that govern them quickly reprogrammed, giving a company almost limitless flexibility to shape its spending power to suit its goals.

This means that, unlike plastic cards, virtual cards can be single use. A new card, with a new card number, can be created for every transaction – and still each maintain a direct link back to a single, central bank account for easy and transparent accounting.

One key business advantage of using virtual cards lies in their ability to significantly reduce the risk of fraud. The creation of a new virtual card for each transaction means that, even if sensitive card data is intercepted, it cannot be used to make further payments. What’s more, when a virtual card is ‘spun up’, it is created for a specific payment – referencing the exact amount, merchant, and date range. Payments outside of these parameters simply won’t be authorised, seamlessly protecting buyers from fraudulent transactions without impacting the user experience.

Furthermore, the authorisation framework of the unique virtual card number (VCN) makes payments easily trackable and provides all of the data needed to help merchants reconcile payments with account receivables – increasing operational efficiency on the supplier side.

Virtual cards are uniquely valuable in B2B contexts. Although consumer products were brought to market, the inability to use them for in-store payments and ATM cash withdrawals limited their adoption, and most issuers eventually stopped offering them. As B2B payments are rarely made via a physical terminal (i.e. face to face), this adoption barrier doesn’t exist in the corporate world, prompting many industry experts to predict that virtual card volumes would snowball. Yet, years later, we’re still awaiting the watershed.


So what’s holding the industry back?

The adoption of new financial processes is often a long-term goal. Not unreasonably, many companies, particularly enterprise-scale firms, perceive integration challenges and downtime as both likely and high-risk.

It’s certainly true that any downtime of internal payments systems would be damaging, but the use of dedicated, cloud-based APIs from specialist digital payment firms dramatically reduces these risks – such firms are solely dedicated to ensuring their digital payment systems seamlessly integrate with a business’s existing systems, and remain continuously available.

There is also a common misconception that while virtual cards benefit buyers, their impact on the suppliers is broadly negative. An often-cited issue is that of increased interchange fees borne by the company accepting payment, which can be up to 2.5% of each transaction. This perception deserves to be challenged, principally because it discounts the business opportunities that virtual cards bring to suppliers including dramatic process efficiencies and, perhaps most importantly, improved cash flow from instant settlement.

Virtual cards from issuers like Barclays enable buyers to pay suppliers upfront via a line of credit, without affecting their own cash flow – similar to the process of paying off a consumer credit card payment.

These strategic benefits to both buyers and suppliers, while nuanced, stack up to a compelling value proposition for even the most change-resistant of firms.

Are we nearly there yet?

The stars appear to be aligning for corporate virtual card adoption. The only real barrier remaining is that of supplier education. To ensure successful take up, issuers, digital payment integrators and buyers alike must share responsibility for communicating their value to merchants within B2B supply chains. Accomplish this and we will finally start to see the levels of adoption this terrific payment technology deserves.

But it is the speed at which the technological advancements have reached that has forced traditionally slow-moving financial institutions to heavily invest to remain relevant to their consumers and remain competitive in the marketplace.


Banking is one of the oldest businesses in the world, going back centuries ago, in fact, the oldest bank in operation today is the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472. The first instance of a non-cash transaction came in the 20th century, when charga-plates were first invented. Considered a predecessor to the credit card, department stores brought these out to select customers and each time a purchase was made, the plates would be pressed and inked onto a sales slip.

At the end of the sales cycle, customers were expected to pay what they were owed to the store, however due to their singular location use, it made them rather limiting, thus paving way for the credit card, where customers that had access to one could apply the same transactional process to multiple stores and stations, all in one place.


The way in which we conduct our leisurely expenditure has changed that much that we can now pay for services on our watches, but it wasn’t always this easy. Just over a few decades ago, individuals were expected to physically travel to their nearest bank to pay their bills, and had no choice but to carry around loose change and cash on their person, a practice that is a dying art in today’s society, kept afloat by the reducing population born before technology.

Although the first instances of contactless cards came about in the mid-90’s, the very first contactless cards associated with banking were first brought into circulation by Barclaycard in 2008, with now more than £40 million being issued, despite there being an initial skepticism towards the unfamiliar use of this type of payment method.


Due to the changes in the financial industry leaning heavily towards a more virtual experience, traditional brick and mortar banks where the older generation still go to, to sort out their finances. Banks are closing at a rate of 60 per month nationwide, with some villages, such as Llandysul closing all four of its banks along with a post office leaving it a ghost town.

The elderly residents of the small town were then forced into a 30-mile round trip in order to access her nearest banking services. With technology not for everyone, those that weren’t taught technology at a younger age or at all are feeling the effects most, almost feeling shut out, despite many banks offering day-to-day banking services through more than 11,000 post office branches, offering yet a lifeline for those struggling with the new business model of financial firms.

Future innovations

As the bracket of people who have grown up around technology widens, the demand for a contemporary banking service continues to encourage the banking industries to stay on their toes as far as the newest innovations go.

Pierre Vannineuse, CEO and Founder of Alternative Investment firm Alpha Blue Ocean, gives his comments about the future of banking services, saying: “Artificial intelligence is continuing to brew in the background and will no doubt feature prominently in the years to come. With many automated chatbots and virtual assistants already taking most of the customer service roles, we are bound to see a more prominent role of AI in how transactions are processed from all levels.”

Technology may have taken its time to get to where it is now, but the way in which it adapts and updates in the modern era has allowed it to quicken its own pace so that new processes spring up thick and fast. Technology has given us a sense of instant gratification, either in business or in leisure, we want things done now not in day or a week down the line.


During this time of financial uncertainty, many opt for emergency small term loans to cover the cost, however these are for financial emergency only and alternative funding will be needed. Here we are going to give you our top tips for saving money and avoid using your credit card.

Make A Shopping List

One of the main ways to avoid making payments on your contactless credit card is to have a shopping list and stick to it. In doing this, you can ensure that you have bought all the food that you need for the week at one time without spending large sums of money as a result. By having everything in the house that you could need, this reduces the need for you to travel to the shops and get tempted by a chocolate bar or other sweet treats that can be bought on impulse with your contactless card.

Avoid Fast Food

Although it may seem tempting to opt for fast food when you have had a long day in the office, it is important to avoid this temptation. One of the ways that you can do this is through making food the night before and freezing it. This not only helps you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it saves you money as a result. This is ideal particularly for students as this will allow them to save excess money and maintain a healthy diet.

Don’t Use Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is something that you should definitely avoid if you are looking to save money. This is because applications such as Google Pay, and Apple Pay make it easy for you to pay for items with a fingerprint or simple passkey. This will not aid you in saving money as this makes it to easy to overspend and end up buying items that you do not need. One way that you can get around this is through travelling to the bank to look at your finances or even restricting your online banking to one desktop.

Pay By Cash Not Card

When going out for a night on the town or on a shopping trip, it is very easy to opt for a contactless payment to purchase items quickly, but what about just taking cash? By taking cash with you and leaving your card at home, you restrict yourself to the amount of money that you can spend. This is particularly important if you are limited on funds as this allows you to budget accordingly and ensure that you do not overspend at any point. If an item is out of your budget at this time, you must then wait till next month to afford it.

Buy Your Own Lunch

Although this may seem like an extremely small transaction per day, purchasing lunch can actually amount to a large portion of your spending per month. In order to combat this and save yourself more money, begin packing your own lunch. This could save you an average of £5 per day which can amount to a large amount at the end of every month. This can then be saved and placed within a bank account for a financial emergency or a treat later in the year.

Whether you are looking to completely avoid using your card on a daily basis or you are looking to limit the amount that you are spending in general, you can be sure to find the solution that works for you by following one of these top tips.

Merchant account and card payment fee comparison service Merchant Machine have carried out a study to look at the extent of these economic changes to find its true value in the world we live in. The research uncovers the impact cashlessness has had on specific industries, personal spending and how much different countries have adopted the payment method. Some of the key findings are outlined below:

Cashless Countries

Revenue from cashless payments has become hugely significant for a number of nations across Europe, but who is yielding the most in recent years? Below are the EU countries with the highest revenue from card payments.

Big in the Industry

Contactless forms of payment have created a new level of convenience for people around the world, and this has provided a real boost for certain industries. Below are some of the biggest winners:

Home and Away

In years gone by, using a card on foreign shores would be a frightening prospect for many, but in 2018, it appears that is no longer the case. Our study has traced the value of cashless payments back to 2006, and show how people have started to adopt card payments abroad and on home soil.

Ian Wright from Merchant Machine stated that: “The popularity and preference towards cashless payments appears evergrowing. While so many are aware of the decline of cash usage and increase in card transactions, but this study helps to break down where these changes are most felt.”

(Source: Merchant Machine)

As a result, they have expect payments to be easy, convenient, flexible, secure – in some cases they even want to be rewarded for making transactions. Below, Abhijit Deb, Head of Banking & Financial Services, UK & Ireland, at Cognizant, explains the ins and outs of card payments and the threats this payment method currently faces.

Customers will not stay loyal to their card providers if the service no longer meets their needs or expectations. As a result, we are entering an age where payment industry providers either have to be the source of transformation or face disruption from competitors challenging their market share. To avoid the latter, card providers should continue to innovate, creating new capabilities and features to bring greater security, added-value services, collaboration and convenience for their clients.

The future credit card

The shift in the payments landscape over the past few years has brought a substantial evolution in the role of payment cards. This transformation has not only impacted the types of cards that companies are launching – for example, Gemalto has developed fingerprint recognition credit cards  – but has also affected card providers’ strategies and aspirations.

But how long will we keep physical cards in our wallet? Will the move to cashless lead us to ultimately become wallet-less?

Payment networks like Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have built a massive infrastructure, also known as ‘payment rails’, for processing transactions globally. As purchasing trends shift online, credit and debit cards are increasingly being used more for their ‘rails’ than for the traditional plastic card we use in-stores. Thus, the battleground for card providers is how to remain the default payment option across every channel, keeping them in the top spot in a spender’s digital wallet.

Apart from the obvious revenue advantages associated with being a preferred payment choice, such as interchange fees and interest charges, card providers with ‘top of the wallet’ status also have access to a rich pool of information. By harnessing data, card companies can provide an innovative and hyper-personalised customer experience to differentiate themselves or create a new stream of revenue, as seen with companies such as Google recently purchasing Mastercard credit card data to track users’ spending.

Evolving competitor landscape

With the incursion of the concept of ‘digital cards’, card issuers and their corresponding business model are under threat, no matter what position they hold in the rank.

With the incursion of the concept of ‘digital cards’, card issuers and their corresponding business model are under threat, no matter what position they hold in the rank.

Card providers have access to increasing amounts of payment and account information, and more assertive competitors are moving quickly to commercialise the opportunities. Online players, like PayPal and Square, are already poised to take a bigger industry lead over traditional credit card issuers thanks to their established online presence.

And, as their dominance grows, we are likely to see other digital players enter the payments space. Amazon, for example, is well known for having a business plan for every industry – and it is likely payments will not be any different. Having just launched a small loans service to SMEs, it is not hard to extend the logic to where Amazon is your bank and runs your entire network by Amazon “rails”. And the same could easily be said for Apple.

We may also see social media players get involved, coupling their user data with account information to provide quick credit checks or banking services.

So, what does this mean for traditional card providers?

Firstly, it is clear that marketing strategy can no longer be centred around a piece of plastic. Marketers must challenge themselves to think about how they can propagate brand loyalty and acquire customers in this changing market. At the moment, a vast amount of customer acquisition is achieved by cross-selling to other customers with partnerships. For example, the British Airways / American Express credit card enables consumers to collect Avios points on their day-to-day transactions.

Firstly, it is clear that marketing strategy can no longer be centred around a piece of plastic.

And how do they compete on the digital landscape? Many providers are racing to position themselves as the customer’s ‘digital front door’ to take advantage of additional account information. Card providers need to act fast to stay relevant.

In the short to mid-term, credit card providers must focus on trust. Currently, thanks to consumer banking regulations, clients have the peace of mind that if a card gets stolen, they are protected. For the time being, Apple Pay and other providers are not offering the same assurances to customers yet. However, when mobile payments start offering the same guarantees, what can card providers do to stop people switching?

In the long term, card players must ensure that they do not find themselves consigned to the role of the faceless underwriter. Card providers need to think about their role in the entire financial services ecosystem and create new, innovative services that respond to customers’ needs. Many forward-looking players are looking to launch offerings such as 360-degree views and financial management advice services.

In the long term, card players must ensure that they do not find themselves consigned to the role of the faceless underwriter.

By combining machine intelligence with data, other providers are already exploring how technology can create new customer and colleague experiences that are simple, fast, transparent and engaging. For example, American Express’ personal travel assistant app, Mezi, uses AI to help cardholders pay for vacations and business trips based on their preferences. Similarly, Bank of America’s virtual AI assistant Erica is helping clients with effective money management.

Only by creating these value-added services that respond to specific consumer needs can card providers avoid complete industry disruption and stay relevant.

Here Stan Swearingen, CEO of IDEX Biometrics, discusses the potential trends for 2019’s biometrics sector.

Following a number of successful trials using fingerprint sensor technology within smart cards across multiple markets, (including Bulgaria, the US, Mexico, Cyprus, Japan, the Middle East and South Africa) the biometric smart card is reaching its inflection point. Key players within the banking industry, including Visa and Mastercard, are already heavily invested in this new payment technology and anticipate that biometrics will play a key role in the revolution of the payments industry.

With mass market rollout on the horizon, here are five key predictions for the biometric payment industry in 2019.

2019: The year of dual interface

The first half of 2017 reported 937,518 cases of financial fraud, resulting in losses of an astonishing £366.4 million[1], a clear demonstration that the PIN is no longer fit for purpose. Recent research from IDEX Biometrics supports this claim and found that 29% of consumers surveyed felt concerned about the use of PINs to keep their money secure, and as many as 70% believed that contactless payment cards left them exposed to theft and fraud. As consumer concerns continue to grow around the security of payments, so too does the need for a personalised, secure and convenient payment solution.

Enter the biometric dual interface payment card. 2019 will see biometric fingerprint sensors integrated into cards with both a micro-processor and contactless interface, removing the need for PINs. This will provide consumers with the reassurance that their money is safe as any transactions will require their finger print to authenticate it. 2019 will be the year of the dual interface where biometric authentication will be available for both contact and contactless payments!

These advances in technology and those within the payments market have meant that the concept of biometric authenticated payments is no longer a novelty. In fact, according to forecasts by Goode Intelligence, nearly 579 million biometric payment cards will be used globally by 2023[2]. The integration of the biometric sensors in the payment card will be one of the next-generation transformative innovations to breathe new life into the payment industry next year and assist in the fight against payment fraud.

The integration of the biometric sensors in the payment card will be one of the next-generation transformative innovations to breathe new life into the payment industry next year and assist in the fight against payment fraud.

Remote enrolment will be the key to mass market adoption

For mass market deployment of biometric smart payment cards to be possible in 2019, banking infrastructures must look at the implementation of biometric technology and ensure that this method of enrolment is accessible and convenient to all. The elderly or those with physical health limitations may struggle leaving the house to enrol within bank branches and even those who work a 9-5 day can often find making it to the bank within opening hours a challenge.

The latest advancements in remote enrolment of biometric payment cards will mean that enrolment for biometric payment cards can take place in the comfort of your own home. Card users will be able to enrol straight onto the card by simply placing their finger on the sensor (with the aid of a small device that comes with the card) to upload their print to the card’s highly secure EMV chip. There is no need for an external computer, smartphone or internet connection. Once loaded, the fingerprint never leaves the card, thus eliminating multiple attack points.

Biometric payments will bridge the gap to financial inclusion

In 2019 advances in biometric fingerprint authentication will be a vital ingredient when bridging the gap to financial inclusion. Currently, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked across the globe today[3]. This is for many reasons, from immigration issues, to illiteracy as well as mental health. Those living with dementia are also at risk of losing their financial independence as their short-term memories decline. A fingerprint sensor on the card can take the place of a PIN or even signature, meaning sufferers are able to stay financially independent for longer.

Currently those who lack access to financial services are missing out on the many benefits financial inclusion has to offer. Fingerprint authentication will remove the barriers that face those with literacy challenges, or face difficulty with memory, as card payments will no longer be about what you know, or what you can remember, but who you are.

Currently those who lack access to financial services are missing out on the many benefits financial inclusion has to offer.

Biometric authentication will be a simple, secure and convenient solution eradicating the need for passwords and PINs as a form of authentication. For this to work as a solution to financial inclusion, banking infrastructures and card manufacturers must work together to reach a price point that enables this technology to be available to all.

The possibilities for biometrics are endless…

While biometric authentication technology is already being used with smartphones and passport identification in the UK, 2019 and beyond will see endless possibilities for the use of biometric smart cards into payments and beyond. We can even expect to see biometrics branch into the Government issued identification and IoT enabled devices arenas.

In fact, a whole host of public services is set to benefit from this secure means of authentication. The use of biometric smart cards within the NHS, for example, could see access to sensitive patient records limited only to the patient themselves. Biometric social benefits cards could control how the money is spent and that it is spent by the right person. According to IDEX research, 38% of consumers surveyed would like to see biometric methods of authentication introduced to wider government identification including driving licenses, National Insurance numbers and even passports.

The future of the biometrics – 2019 and beyond!

In 2019, authentication will get even smarter, and further technological advances such as multi-modal or multi-factor authentication will further enhance security within the payments landscape. This refers to technology that combines a variety of different types of biometrics in order to add an additional layer of security, including persistent authentication. For example, instead of having one single authentication, smartphones could continuously scan features to ensure the correct person is using the device.

Whilst the biometric dual interface smart payment card is set to hit the mass market next year – this is just the beginning. The payment card of tomorrow will go beyond just transactions. Biometric smart cards will serve multiple purposes – a payment card, a form of ID for restricted goods and even a loyalty card!

The early days of biometrics where it was felt to be invasive and a privacy concern are long gone. In fact, according to recent research from IDEX, 56% of consumers surveyed state they would trust the use of their fingerprint to authenticate payments more than the traditional PIN. Further to this, 52% would feel more confident if their fingerprint biometric data was stored on their payment card, rather than a bank’s central database.

Consumers are ready for the use of biometric fingerprint methods of authentication for card payments and 66% expect their roll out to authenticate in-store transactions in 2019. We predict that by 2019 biometric smart payment card adoption will go into many millions!



The study, which looks at cash and cashless technology usage in four markets—the UK, Australia, Brazil, and South Africa—shows that a cashless society may not be a realistic ambition. In fact, the survey revealed an “immovable” 24% of consumers who will never abandon cash—no matter what technological advance or leap forward is available to them.

In Brazil and South Africa, where cash use is more common, there is a strong desire for wider acceptance of cashless technologies such as payment cards and digital wallets. In both markets, 60% say that they are worried about having cash stolen from them which suggests fear of theft is a key driver rather than convenience.

In the UK and Australia, however, where the use of cashless technologies is more widespread, people are happier with their use of cash. Around 80% of people in both markets say that they are comfortable using cash.

Respondents across all countries saw cash as part of their day-to-day lives. They carry cash at all times, replenishing their wallets and purses regularly at ATMs, and are unwilling to go that last extra mile and never use cash again.

The findings suggest that cashless technologies will not replace cash completely; instead people are happier with an equilibrium between the two.

“While the proliferation of cashless payment technologies has generally led to a reduction in cash usage across developed economies, banknotes have unique properties that consumers value, such as security against fraud,” said Michael Batley, Head of Strategy, Travelex. “As long as this is the case it’s unlikely that any attempts to abandon cash completely will succeed. Even Sweden’s bid to go cashless, touted as a successful model, has seen pushback. Ultimately, only consumer demand will drive the change towards a truly cashless society and our research indicates this is further away than many realise.”

As well as revealing a lack of appetite for a cashless society, the study also reveals that opinion is split on whether it is even possible. The UK, the most ‘cashless’ country surveyed, represented the highest proportion (47%) of respondents that do not see an end to cash, closely followed by Australia (42%).

Travelex commissioned Sapio Research to survey 1,000 consumers regarding their attitudes to cash and cashless technology across four markets: the UK, Australia, Brazil and South Africa. These four countries are at different points in the “journey towards cashlessness”, as defined by Mastercard’s Measuring progress toward a cashless society report, and together give a representative overview.

(Source: Travelex)

Despite the hype, research by IDEX Biometrics has revealed that mobile payments are almost as unpopular as cheques. In fact, the payment card is still the number one payment method when it comes to in-store purchases for UK consumers. Three quarters (75%) of respondents stated that they use cards, including contactless, most often, compared to cash (21%), mobile payments (3%), and cheques (1%).

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a glimpse of hope for mobile payments on the horizon, with 72% stating they are concerned about the possibility of no longer having access to a physical debit card and needing to rely on mobile payments only.

It seems consumers’ personal attachment to the payment card is virtually unbreakable. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents stated that carrying their debit cards provides a sense of security. It’s not surprising then that 75% say they always take a debit card with them when they leave the house. 65% of those questioned said that they wouldn’t give up their debit card in favour of mobile payments and a further 78% admit to feeling more secure using their debit card in comparison to mobile payments.

A further 60% also stated they would be worried people would have access to their accounts if they lost their mobile phone, amplifying the clear consumer distrust in mobile payments and their personal attachment to payment cards.

“It is evident that the UK public won’t be ditching payment cards in favour of mobile payments in the near, or even distant, future. Banks must face this and innovate with cards, which have stayed largely the same for decades,” comments Dave Orme, IDEX Biometrics SVP.

“With a resounding 53% of consumers stating they would trust the use of their fingerprint to authenticate payments more than the traditional PIN, this must be where the UK banking industry focuses its attention. Chip and PIN is now 12 years old, and has seen its course. It is time to elevate the traditional payment card and evolve authentication methods to make contactless transactions even more convenient and secure by adding seamless fingerprint biometric authentication”, added Orme.

(Source: IDEX Biometrics)

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