It's hard to imagine a world without credit cards. These days, we're truly wedded to our little plastic pals. As well as important benefits like convenience and security, a credit card won't spoil the look of your skinny jeans like a pocketful of coins or a roll of banknotes.
As evidence of our love affair with our credit and debit cards, you need only look at recent data from the Australian Payments Clearance Association Limited, which shows the number of card transactions being made per month in Australia increased from just 18.1 million in 1994, to more than 162 million last year.
Card usage is truly on the rise, with more people than ever choosing to punch in their pin rather than hand over their cash.
But payment technology is changing all the time. Notes and coins seem old fashioned now, but check out these innovations that could change how we pay for things in the future…
Recently, a Helsinki-based start-up made headlines by announcing that it developed the first ever payment system that works using facial recognition technology. Instead of using a signature or pin to authorise your card payments, a small camera at the terminal will be used to confirm your identity. Talk about a time saver!
According to the project's chief business development officer, Ruslan Pisarenko, a mathematical model of the face is used to make the technology highly secure.
"Even twins that look the same have tiny differences. We’ve been asked a lot about plastic surgery, too, but it would never result in the same mathematical model. The system will be able to recognise if it’s a person’s real, live face and a mask," Mr Pisarenko told the Independent newspaper in July.
You smartphone has already replaced your MP3 player, camera, personal organiser and portable games console. So, why not your keys, credit cards and money?
A number of telecoms and tech companies are already working on mobile wallet technology, which will allow you to load your credit card details on to your smartphone and use the device to make payments.
There are already smartphone covers that use similar technology to tap and go credit cards and it won't be long before we're using the phones themselves at the checkout.
Dynamic Strip Technology
If you're not ready to give up your trusty credit card just yet, this innovation might at least help you slim down your wallet.
Dynamic strip technology allows you to load multiple cards onto one handy plastic slab. That means you could keep your credit cards, debit cards, and rewards cards all in one tidy package. You might even be able to combine all your security or medical cards into one as well.
This means no more packing your wallet full of different cards, or having to remember multiple pins. Instead, you'll simply hand over one, sleek payment card that can do all the work for you.
What do you think the future holds of credit cards?