As cars' onboard computers get smarter, payments are coming along for the ride—but always taking a back seat to other features.

"We dine a lot in the car, we eat a lot in the car, and if you think about it having to take out a credit card to pay in a drive through or while you're on the road is a hassle and it can be scary," said Joanna Pena-Bickley, chief creative officer, IBM Interactive Experience. IBM, General Motors, ExxonMobil and Mastercard are collaborating on an in-car computer system that will enable payments among its array of services.

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