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07:37 PM
Cynthia Ramsaran
Cynthia Ramsaran
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There will be a rise in plastic payments in 2004 because of the availaibilty of more merchants accepting credit, analysts say. Places that had never accepted credit/debit payments are now gladly taking electronic payments. Furthermore, credit cards companies are now making these methods of payment more creative and more convenient.

"There is definitely a rise in electronic payments," says Avivah Litan, vice president of financial services, Gartner Inc. (Stamford, Conn.) "We are starting to see improvements being made by credit card associations -Visa said it's trying to move to real-time processing, to keep up with explosive growth in plastic payments."

With the increase of card usage comes the need for banks and credit card companies increase awareness of security issues. Solutions providers have found new ways to prevent fraud and to help customers feel safer using cards.

"Obviously card usage in the industry today is increasing," says Jeff Fazio, e-Business Technical Advisor, Aurum Technology (Plano, Texas). "With debit cards, primarily, and ATM cards, as the number of cards and the usage increases, so do the instances where a customer has lost a card or has a card stolen. It becomes important for banks to be able to protect their customers and themselves, and protect their relationship and their integrity as a financial institution."

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