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From paper directory of cards to fraud prevention using uncertainty principle



I found a viral reddit thread this week 'People over 40: What is a question that you don't think people under 25 would know, but just about everyone over 40 would know?'

One of the questions asked was 'People under 25: When you used a credit card in 1975, how did the store record the charge?' There are some fascinating answers - 'I distinctly recall every credit card transaction caused the cashier to look your number up in a big book with thin pages (thin like a bible), where the font was probably 6-point. They had to squint and flip through pages until they found your number (or they found that your number wasn't in there)' or consider this - 'In fact we did call the company! If it was over a certain amount we had to call. We had a sheet of paper above the phone with all the numbers we had to hit to navigate the menu and our merchant ID while holding the card. At first its awkward having a conversation with the card company with the customer watching but u get used to it. Good times, good times.'


For a 25 or below this sounds so odd. We are now using technologies like ApplePay or Tokenization and probably in future use Fraud prevention technologies based on Uncertainty principle. 15 years down the line we hope to ask similar questions which folks of next generation will found fascinating. There are so many unknown unknowns and payments technology is transforming so fast!




I can tell you that the phone call to verify process is not all that old - back in 2001 (when I worked for Infosys incidentally) we ran into a situation where the King of Jordan popped into a jewelry shop (I think in Tiffanys in NYC) and as soon as he came in the store called AmEx to get clearance to approve of any purchases without having to swipe his card (it is an insult in some cultures to do a credit check which is really what an authorization transaction is). I wouldn't be surprised if they still did it for royalty and the like.
Talk about personalized service.

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