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Smartphones and new credit card technology set to revolutionise how we pay

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Kim Arlington

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<i>Illustration: John Shakespeare</i>

Illustration: John Shakespeare

We've signed, swiped, inserted, tapped, bumped and waved.

Credit cards have come a long way since the first one, made of cardboard, was used in a New York restaurant in 1950. But as technology keeps evolving, could plastic become obsolete?

Digital wallets, near-field communication technology and ever-smarter smartphones mean that more of us may soon be carrying nothing in our pockets but a phone loaded with our credit and debit card information, coupons and loyalty cards, receipts, travel cards and identification.

The Commonwealth Bank launched tap-and-pay functionality for mobile phones in December and also offers a PayTag sticker, allowing users to tap and pay with compatible smartphones. Westpac is poised to launch a contactless payment system for mobile phones, while ANZ has been testing its own version.