If you are reading this, you should read the immediately prior post first. This is a continuation.
MediaMarkt’s need for multiple copies of papers again made me disgusted with the waste of natural resources. Yet, once again, each time I complain about something Hungarian, close on its tail is a similar American example to show that differences are not all that wide.
I had received my contract from Frommer’s for the chapter of the new Europe by Rail book. It was efficiently scanned into a PDF file and e-mailed to me. I printed out the signature sheet only, signed it, scanned and sent it back to them feeling eco so green. Alas, the editorial assistant e-mailed me back with compliments on my efficiency; however, they need 6 copies of my 4 page contract for legal reasons. Six copies? She offered to print out 6 copies of the first 3 pages if I would print out 6 copies of the signature page, sign all and mail them. I opted for this. It would be expensive printing out 24 sheets of paper when ink cartridges are double that of the US, plus I would have to pay extra for the mailing of them.
This got me to thinking about credit cards. In Europe, bank credit cards have evolved beyond the US by implanting chips into them. There are special chip credit card readers that do not accept the US old fashioned type of card causing much distress for US travelers.
Why can’t we move to a card chip technology? Instead of printing out sheets of paper, why can’t we put the contract, the receipts, all other paperwork on a chip in a credit card? This is how I see it playing out. I hand a credit card sized chip card to the television salesman. He puts it into his card reader machine attached to the sales computer and downloads my purchase. I bring the card to the cashier. She uploads the information into her register, applies my charge card payment, and then after ticking a box that shows it is a tax-related item, downloads the receipt, warranty, and all other related information to my chip card. I now have a permanent record on my chip card.
When I get home, I put my chip card into the chip card reader attached to my computer, upload the data and then choose to either delete it off of my chip card or let it remain there in an encrypted file for later reference. No paperwork!
Frommer’s or similar companies can send you a link to a site to download a contract onto your chip card. You digitally sign the contract, upload it to your chip card and then electronically upload it back to the site. Six copies are no longer needed or at the bare minimum, they download your signed copy to 6 chip cards for their legal department.
With technology as it is today, a small chip card can carry just about the entire Library of Congress on it and still fit into a credit card slot in your wallet without bulging. Having once had the harrowing experience of being audited by the IRS getting dinged for paper receipts and proof of business travel I could not find, this would have been a saving grace. For business people, you would have a business chip card. Anything that is tax deductible, you use this chip card for. Even when ordering off of the Internet, you insert your chip card into your personal chip card reader attached to your computer. You tick the box on the Internet order form that shows “Is this a deductible expense?” Then it downloads a copy of the receipt onto the chip card for storage. You also do the same with all of your tax forms and records. The IRS calls you for an audit. You turn over your chip card and you are done. Out of pure paranoia, I still have 7 boxes of business tax records in storage dating back to 1989. All of that could have been put on a chip.
Backing up the chip card can be automated to cloud storage. You lose your card or your wallet/purse is stolen, the chip is encrypted with a pin number, so no loss of identity. You just purchase a new card and you are ready to go again.
If I had the technological know-how, this is what I would design, promote and sell with no worries about a retirement fund. Alas, I don’t have that knowledge, but would love to see the technology in my lifetime. You saw it here first. I want 10% finders fees.