The Development of Card Payments

We now have so much choice with making payments, more than any other generation and this will only keep growing; evident by the development and trial of biometric cards and the contactless limit increasing again. Therefore, you have the choice to pick the payment method that suits you best. As a result of these developments and considering what could be possible in the future, we thought it was a good time to consider the development of card payments.

We have seen unprecedented developments in card payments, especially when you reflect on how payments would have been viewed at certain points in the past. For example 25 years ago if you would have told someone that certain places would be cashless only accepting cards and not accept physical money they wouldn’t have believed you, this is the same if you go back to the 1940s and talk about card payments, they would have considered it science fiction. Another indicator showing how important card payments are and how they have grown massively is the fact it has over-taken cash as the most used method of payment.

Card Payments

So here are some key dates for card payment developments :

– 1914 – US Western Union provide metal cards
– 1951 – US Diners Club issues plastic payment cards, accepted in 27 restaurants
– 1966 – UK’s first credit card issued by Barclays on June 29th
– 1967 – First cash machine installed by Barclays in Enfield, Middlesex
– 1972 – Lloyds Bank ‘cashpoint’ is the first online ATM using payment cards with a magnetic stripe
– 1977 – Barclaycard issue the first UK company card
– 1980s – Early/mid-1980s saw the first EPOS terminals (Electronic Point of Sale)
– 1987 – Debit cards introduced
– 1990 – Cashback emerges as a means of acquiring cash
– 1995 – UK debit card volume exceeds credit card volume for the first time
– 1997 – UK chip trials in Northampton and Dunfermline
– 1999 – Internet card issues join the market (Eggs, Smile, etc.)
– 2003 – More than half of UK adults use a debit card regularly
– 2006 – Chip and pin announced in the UK
– 2007 – The first contactless card transactions occur in the UK
– 2007 – A mobile phone with built-in contactless payment card technology is piloted in London
– 2012 – Contactless payments introduced on London buses
– 2018 – UK debit card transactions overtake cash for the first time
– 2019 – NatWest trial biometrics cards

(Adapted from – The UK Cards Association)

We can see from this timeline of key dates in the development of card payments, there is a lot of progress across various topics. It started with developments revolving around cash and then moved across to credit and debit cards and the rest is history. This growth has occurred in a relatively short period especially when you have to consider the time that would be spent developing these behind the scenes. I would like to highlight chip and pin here as a great example of how it can be a lengthy process to get this fantastically innovative idea to market – the first trials were in 1997 (but there would have been a lot of work put into setting up the trial) and it was nine years before chip and pin was introduced in the UK.

As you can see from the information in this blog, card payments started off as just a hypothetical but since then they have seen exponential development. This has happened over a relatively short time especially considering the technology and security issues that would have been faced at each development stage. However, trials are a good way around this to see how these payment methods will act in a limited study.

From reading up on the development of card payments and the development of payments as a whole, the thing that strikes me most is that the options could be endless – who knows what else we will be able to do with card payments in the future.

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