Quantum physics is suddenly big in pop culture. Black holes and spacetime, for example, are central to both the plots of current films “Interstellar,” and “The Theory of Everything.” In the latter, cosmologist Stephen Hawking spends his life trying to find a single theory to “explain” all of life. Similarly, those mindful of payment card security in an age of proliferating hacks are looking for a single theory — an unassailable, breach-proof idea — to make payments secure and safe for the foreseeable future.
As it turns out, such an idea may lay in quantum physics.
According to Tech Times, researchers at two universities in the Netherlands have “developed an authentication method that is impossible to copy, acting as a more secure version of a “Q&A” system. The method works by taking advantage of the quantum-physical fact that it is possible for photons (light particles) to be in several places at once.”
Without making you think you’ve dipped into too much of the office Xmas party punch already, that “several places at once” notion comes from physicists like Heisenberg, who state that the location of a particle isn’t “fixed” until it’s actually observed.
The secure method words when a “paper-thin” layer of paint is applied to each card, one that “contains nanoparticles in the millions. If a photon is directed at the paint, it will bounce around the nanoparticles until it finds a way out.
“A bank, for instance, sends out a unique light pattern for every transaction. Think of this as the ‘question.’ The ‘answer’ will be the resulting light pattern formed as the photon looks for a path to escape. A transaction will only be approved by the bank if the resulting pattern achieved is correct.”
Of course, we’re wondering how the bank knows which pattern is the correct one, if nearly infinite patterns are possible. And of course, there’s no mention of what this system would mean for online payments. Nonetheless, they’re calling it “QSA,” or “Quantum Secure Authorization,” and you may be hearing more about it in the new year, and in new years to come.
Other new year trends, according to a new column at the Payments Source website, show that an ongoing shift from paper to plastic continues, and doesn’t only mean a trend away from cash, but also from such “instruments” as paper checks, especially as employees receive funds either through direct deposit, or payment cards. The use of the latter is especially growing in regions like Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The same article also notes that global trends of urbanization and increased mobility also mean that “the more that consumers are in the motion, the greater the likelihood of card spend.”
This dovetails with an increase in mobile spending, as well — which is to say, consumers accessing websites from digital devices, and paying online, whether with mobile wallets, a payment account, or with their credit cards.
Aside from any random quantum variations in these trend lines, make sure you’re ready for them! You should not only make sure your company’s website is optimized for mobile use, but you should contact your AVPS Rep as well.
After all, as we all move forward through spacetime together, we want your journey to be as productive as possible!