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Oh, what do I do with a Virtual Card?

Published by: Craig Lawrance



A virtual card is a rather invisible thing.  I mean it’s not something you can hold.  Nor really look at to be fair. In that regard it’s very much like software itself.

I’m reminded to some extent of Carl Sagan who sadly, no longer with us, would have something wise to say about the encroachment of tech on every aspect of our lives.  He foresaw the day when so much of our lives would be subject to science and yet there would be so few of us that actually understood it.  He foresaw a technocracy taking over, but I’ll leave that topic for another day.

The smart “neobanks” out there are re-inventing banking in a new way, not totally dissimilar from the way that the NonStop re-invented banking back in the late 70s and early 80s, if you remember that far back. It was a time when mainframes proved wanting when it came to running any application 24 x 7 and with the arrival of NonStop, problem solved. However, for many in tech today, this is like talking about the time when dinosaurs walked the planet.

Let’s take a moment to consider what is taking place right now. My favorite bird is not twitter, but Starling of the UK who has created a super fan base of advocates who bank entirely from their mobile, never call anybody, never logon online to any website, but simply use face recognition to get into their banking App.

Starling has innovated once more with the launch of Payment spaces or categories to help consumers manage their different areas of spending. So for example you can have a space for Travel, for socializing, for power utility bills, for summer holidays, for Christmas presents, or any other category or space you want to create.  Taking this further the bank has allowed its users to budget into each space separate, and enable spending from each of these spaces with the use of a virtual card, from the app, helping consumers to avoid overspending in each of those categories.

Being used from the Mobile device, this is effectively an NFC Card Transaction. Without any physical card!  Perhaps we won’t need cards any more in the future. 

For NonStop Users who once front-ended the IBM Mainframe to talk with ATMs and thought they now owned the new world, the lesson is clear.  As some point everything gets front-ended or replaced with something better or indeed something shinier.  Beware. We have to keep re-inventing NonStop Payments, otherwise we too could easily become reptilian.