Card payments have swiftly become an indispensable part of our payment transactions sphere. The transition of people shifting from cash to plastic money has been pretty fast because card payments has made money more convenient and easy to carry. For merchants, it’s a more proficient system of accepting payments. Cards have resolved people’s worries of carrying boatloads of cash as it protects them from theft, first and foremost.
How did the card become a universally accepted payment solution?
In today’s age, cards have become an essential necessity to people worldwide. Most payments on a global scale nowadays are conducted via card solutions. Merchants encourage and accept this method of payment since they’re a a sales booster, thus enhancing cash flow. This is because for a lot of people, their money stored as an mere intangible figure in their bank account is relatively easier to part with than cold hard cash.
Understanding the evolution of card payment machines
To understand the evolution of the card machine, we need to go back to the seventies. Back in 1970, the first-ever electronic card machine started its payment journey. This electronic payment terminal could read magstripe cards to conduct increasingly secure transactions. After this, a chip card was inaugurated in 1975, adopted by banks, and became a turning point for integrating high-end technology in the payment sphere. The universally acclaimed electronic card terminals were launched by Visa in the year 1979. These were adopted rapidly.
PSTN: A minimalistic shift to telephone networking
The first lucrative solution that aimed at transmitting information between the payment terminal and the customer’s bank was the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The modus operandi of this machine was fixing the card machine in one location connected by a cable to the telephone socket.
Revolutionizing with the portable card machine
With the booming Internet era, having a sound data connection was all that was required for customers to make payments through flexible card machines. Portable card machines gave businesses an easy solution to accepting card payments without spending excess time or money on this process. These machines also gave companies the freedom to accept cards anytime and anywhere.
Soon many big and small businesses from restaurants to pop-up shops to department stores embraced this advanced payment settlement system.
The era of application-based card transactions accepted by all vendors
The small devices used for facilitating transactions are connected to a smartphone to run a payment app specific to the card reader. All that the card reader asks for is a cable connected to the headphone jack. This highly transportable and handy device was tailor-made for small vendors. But with UPI apps and similar mobile payment applications becoming more and more popular for instant payments, relatively small business owners don’t have to worry about having such a reader at hand these days.
Contactless payments work on Near-Field Communications (NFC) or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tech. The ability for authorizing secure purchases with a wave at any suitable payment terminal is imbued in cards, smartphones and other small devices via software married to a chip. No signature or PIN is needed. Although the technology is considered relatively safe, it is still limited to lower value transactions.
POS (point-of-sale) payment services have given businesses benefits like increased store profitability through effective inventory management. The payments solution makes transactions easily accessible and secure.
This technology provides vendors with real-time access to financial information as well as inventory updates. Business owners can keep tabs on sales and stock at multiple locations without having to be physically present.
Most importantly, POS integrates physical stores and online shops seamlessly. It is the most efficient, profitable, and user-friendly payment solution for the present times.
Whatever method of payment a vendor may choose, there will always be folks who want to swipe their trusty ‘old’ debit or credit at the checkout counter. So even as alternate transaction methods continue to evolve, it will be many long years before card payment machines go out of fashion.