Regular readers of this column will recall that earlier this year, I had three credit-card numbers stolen across a few months. This has led me to express joy and wonder at the growth of Apple Pay in the real world and for in-app physical purchases, and of course Apple Pay in Safari, coming to Sierra and iOS 10. (Android Pay and other options are also coming to Web-based ecommerce.)
But we can’t use Apple Pay everywhere. That’s where a product like Final may remain useful for some time. Final revives and improves on an idea that merchant banks introduced many years ago: virtual, sometimes disposable, credit-card numbers. I recall using this as early as 2004 with a Chase card. In that model, you go to a website, make some choices, and generate a card. The process was a little ugly, only available for some cards, and didn’t seem to be available for long.