By Joe Taylor Jr., CardRatings contributor
Updated, March 30, 2010
Panelists at a conference session in Las Vegas debated the future of point-of-sale payments, and whether the cash register of the future will be fueled by contactless credit cards or by mobile phone applications. The debate took place during the CTIA conference in Las Vegas, where representatives of the banking, technology, and communications industries converged to explore new ideas for mobile devices.MasterCard
and First Data, two of the most established payment platform providers in the world, stand by their decision to support the technology behind NFC. Representatives from both companies claim the contactless chip, when embedded inside a standard-looking debit or credit card, offers consumers a familiar way to pay at convenience stores and gas pumps. The backward-compatible cards still carry magnetic stripes and raised numbers, making them acceptable on a variety of devices.
A spokesperson from PayPal used the panel to advocate that consumers would soon keep their wallets "on the cloud." Mobile devices running special applications, like those already in use by PayPal and Starbucks, would interface with advanced point-of-sale systems to practically eliminate fraud. Both sides conceded that these technologies continue to evolve, and that merchant demand holds the key to driving new credit card innovations