Your next credit card transaction won't need a credit card, if wireless phone companies and vending machine manufacturers get their way. Recent news reports have covered a variety of ideas for streamlining retail purchases, replacing magnetic stripe credit cards with registered cell phones, personal biometrics, or a combination of the two.

According to Bloomberg News, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have partnered with Discover Card to test new retail payment technology in airports. Instead of using credit cards at food stalls and gift shops, test subjects can wave registered smartphones at wireless device readers. Some of the tests involve special cases for existing phones that use the same RFID tags as current PayWave or ExpressPay credit cards. Other tests involve technology that allows participants' phones to emit unique transmissions that authorize payments.

Meanwhile, Boston-based Next Generation Vending and Food Service has launched trials of new systems tying credit accounts to fingerprints or retina scans. The company's vending machines allow customers to make quick snack purchases by eliminating dollar acceptors and magnetic stripe readers. Both solutions still require cardholders to register their accounts, but reduce the risk of falling prey to card skimmers.