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Technology and industry often go well together. Educational and medical institutes are often slow to make the transition to the latest in technology, but businesses and banks are often at the forefront of using the latest technological developments. Those who have been paying bills for the past 10 years have noticed a dramatic shift in the amount of options available for paying bills; automatic bill payment methods are common, and most bills can be paid easily online. Further, the shift from cash to credit and debit cards has accelerated recently, and some countries are even attempting to move to a so-called cashless society. While paying bills has become considerably easier in recent years, there are still techniques that can be used to make bill payment even easier in the future. Here some of the technologies that will likely come to consumers in the near and distant future.

Smart phone payments

Smart phones are almost ubiquitous today, and cheaper devices will likely extend the popularity of these devices into all demographics. Because these devices can be tied to bank accounts and credit cards, some companies are beginning to use them as tools for paying bills. While this is only an incremental improvement over paying bills with a computer, it will allow people to pay their bills while waiting in line, waiting to pick the kids up at school or any time where they have a few free minutes. In addition, smart phones can be used to provide information about automatic payments that will be deducted from a bank account or credit card. Some companies and financial institutes can already take payment through smart phones, and this trend can be expected to accelerate in the coming years.

Fingerprint authentication

A number of chips that can read fingerprints have been developed and brought to the market in recent years, and the cost of this technology continues to drop. These systems have proven to be reliable, and circumventing fingerprint security is more difficult than cracking a password or bank account. Fingerprint authentication may become standard in banks, and they can even be used at point-of-sale locations to allow people to pay without having to pull out a credit card or cash. Some are predicting that smart phones will soon contain tools for authenticating fingerprints as a means of providing security. If this occurs, businesses, banks and other financial institutes will feel more confident using smart phones as payment authentication devices. As a result, the transition to smart phone payments may accelerate considerably if these devices become standard in the future.

Brainwave payments?

While it may seem unrealistic to those unfamiliar with latest in brainwave technology, there are now devices capable of reading brain activity with a fairly high resolution. There are still several technological hurdles that may limit this technology, but most experts believe that advanced detection products will be able to make the reading of brain waves reliable and accurate. If these devices can be miniaturized and produced cheaply, which many believe they can, they may become standard parts of point-of-sale locations, banks and other institutes that accept payment. If this occurs, customers can have essentially uncrackable passwords that will provide the ultimate in security. In the past, GPS devices were deemed too expensive to be part of consumer devices, but this has been proven false by the ubiquity of GPS chips in smart phones and other devices. This may occur with brainwave detectors as well, and people may be able to use their thoughts as authentication for various activities. While this is speculative, incremental improvements to brainwave detection will be able to accomplish this goal.

As societies around the world move away from cash, engineers are trying to devise new methods of making payments that require as little interaction as possible. Further, they will help improve the security of payment technologies, which will help prevent accounts from being hacked and fraudulent activity. While it is always difficult to predict the future of technology, there can be little doubt that many of these new technologies will come to consumers in a big way. Fortunately, these new devices should be able to provide security that other technologies cannot match, and the process of paying bills will become substantially easier and safer in the future.

Written By: Evelyn Elkin

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