At first blush, the emerging world of payments through the Internet and mobile telephones may seem tailor-made for credit cards. But the card executives who gathered at Faulkner & Gray's 12th annual Credit Card Forum in Miami last week were anything but sanguine.

They said they saw threats on the horizon, including new digital currencies and other payment schemes that skirt card use altogether. In some countries, for instance, mobile phone companies are letting consumers shop by telephone and charge the merchandise to their phone bill. Experts say cable TV companies have similar opportunities.

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