When they want to pay for products at checkouts, an increasing number of people now reach into their pocket for a smartphone.

For American Express, which has approximately 50 million cards-in-force in the United States, that shift towards digital devices – as epitomized by tech companies like Samsung, Apple, and Google launching virtual “wallets” – means its brand soon may take on a very different shape.

“In short order, and I’m not making any [specific] predictions here, the credit card as we know it is going away in your wallet,” explained Christopher Frank, a VP at American Express who leads an insights team focused on advertising, brand strategy and communications research.

“That physical piece of plastic is going to evolve.”

Although digital disruption is now a given in the financial-services sector, Frank suggested the principles that have long guided Amex’s business may now be more important than ever, too. “The form factor matters less to us as long as we’re true to our purpose on the brand, which is … trust, service and security,” he explained at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2018 CONSUMERxSCIENCE conference in New York.