Visa announces big changes, Americans will have fewer cards in their wallets


  • 16-bit codes on credit and debit cards may be phased out in US
  • Banks will be able to issue one payment card that links multiple accounts
  • The new feature is already available in Asia and will launch in the U.S. this summer

Visa is changing the way debit and credit cards work to reduce the number of physical cards Americans need to carry around with them.

Banks will be able to issue one physical payment card linked to multiple bank accounts, thanks to a new feature that will be rolled out over the summer.

This means your wallet will likely be slimmer since there's no need to carry around a Bank of America or Chase debit card and their respective credit cards.

Americans will be able to customize payment settings through their banks, such that all purchases under $100 or at a certain merchant are made with a debit card, while other purchases are made with a credit card.

Visa says it's launching a new feature that could replace the 16-digit code you have to enter every time you make a purchase on the new website

Visa says it's launching a new feature that could replace the 16-digit code you have to enter every time you make a purchase on the new website

Visa says this could make the 16-digit code you have to enter every time you shop on a new site obsolete.

“I think (with these features) we're past the point where consumers may never need to manually enter their account numbers again,” said Mark Nelsen, Visa's global head of consumer payments.

Visa's new payments system marks the biggest change in the way Americans shop since companies introduced chip-embedded cards a few years ago.

In recent years, the payments landscape has diversified, with the emergence of buy now, pay later companies, peer-to-peer payment options, direct payments through banks or digital payment systems such as Apple Pay.

Buy now, pay later company Affirm will be the first Visa customer to launch the card killing feature.

Visa said it decided to implement the overhaul in response to widespread fraud involving online payments. The San Francisco-based company estimates that online payment fraud occurs about seven times more frequently than in-person payment fraud.

Mark Nelsen, global head of consumer payments at Visa, believes that the time is coming when consumers may never need to manually enter their account numbers again.

Mark Nelsen, global head of consumer payments at Visa, believes that the time is coming when consumers may never need to manually enter their account numbers again.

Apple Card is also the driving force behind this change, as it does not print 16-bit account numbers. As part of this, Apple Card users can request a new credit card number at any time without discarding the physical card.

There are also other clever tweaks coming to tap-to-pay functionality on smartphones.

Americans will soon be able to use a credit or debit card on their phone to add the card to a mobile wallet, without having to use their smartphone's camera to scan the card's information.

They can also swipe their card on their phone to approve an online transaction, or swipe their card on a friend's phone to send them money.

It will take time for individual banks to roll out new features, and banks will decide when or what to implement for customers.



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