The past year or 2 have seen rapid advances in payment technologies. While cash is still used the trend is away from cash even for small purchases.
Contactless payment terminals have seen trials from major retailers across the UK over the past year or so and the results are in, they are a success. Transport for London already has contactless payment terminals on its vehicles, you can make a contactless payment in many stores in London and chains such as Marks and Spencer are introducing them on a large scale in their stores. Contactless payments allow customers to pay for goods under the value of £20 by simply waving their contactless enabled card near to the payment terminal.
Mobile payments are a relative of contactless and work using the same technology, NFC. Already being used in the US mobile payments may well supersede contactless card payments. A mobile payment is made by holding your phone near to a contactless payment terminal. Your phone has to have NFC tech which is beginning to be introduced but is not yet commonplace.
Biometric payments are made by confirming payment using a readout from your body. The most common type of biometric verification being trialled at present is hand vein and fingerprint technologies though eye verification and other are also technologically possible already. Trials in France have been a great success.
Mobile Chip and PIN
Mobile chip and PIN machines that work with an app on your phone are available in the UK. Their release means small businesses can take card payments anywhere you can get a phone signal. Expect to see many being used in the next few years.