September 23, 2019 7:18 am Written by

The Age of Plastic: Our Use of Credit and Debit Cards

If you have ever watched the classic film, “The Graduate”, you may remember the scene where Dustin Hoffman, who is the graduate in question, is told by one of his parents business friends about plastics.

Of course the plastics he was referring to are different than our little plastic card friends we use everyday.

We know we are using cash for payments less and less, and are moving towards a “cashless society”, and it seems we may have reached “peak cash”. I say/write this as of the other day credit card were used more for spending than cash for the first time.

According to UK Retailers, 80% of sales is paid for by cards.

The British Retail Consortium or BRC stated, “For the first time, credit card spending has outstripped cash spending.”

Moving to a cashless society is not without its concerns and issues.

It is thought that the non-use of cash would affect millions here in the UK, in part due to the fact there are those without bank accounts and debit cards. How would they pay for purchases?

There also is the fear and concern over the closures of bank branches and also ATM deserts.

Going cashless is something that needs to be thought well out.

Rejected Cards and Systems Failures

If we are to move to a completely cashless world, there needs to be in place how to handle outages, such as system failures that banks have been experiencing that deny us access to our money, and cause our cards to be denied and not work.

Having a card declined at the till and point of sale is embarrassing, and also means we cannot complete the purchase.

Recently new security features are being implemented for the use of credit cards, and also contactless cards.

The credit card companies are sending out a text message now with a code to be used when you make an online purchase. If you fail to have a mobile signal, you may not receive the text and code, and cannot complete the purchase.

There have been concerns over security issues with contactless cards since they first were introduced.

If you lose your card anyone can use it as they would not need your PIN. This was addressed in some ways by limiting the amount that can spent using the card in a contactless manner.

Now some banks and card issuers are limiting the number of times you can use your card as contactless to five (5) transactions, or a total of £135.

The card would be declined if you tried to use it again, however, if you used the card and PIN, meaning inserting the card into the card reader and entering your PIN, the card would be accepted.

Seeing “card declined” is not good, and many do not know what to do if the card is declined.

Resolver’s Martyn James stated, “All they needed to do was put the card in the machine and enter their PIN. Yet people working in retail don’t know about this major change either.”

The card machines simply stated the card was declined, they do not prompt the card user to enter their PIN.

So as our use of plastics, credit and debit cards grow, which they are growing, there will be more issues or growing pains to be sorted.

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