At the start of the year, governments and banks across the globe were exploring the future of moving forwards a cashless society within the next ten years. UKFinance predicted that within this timeframe, 90% of transactions would be digital in Britain.
However, in light of Covid19, this idea and trend has been accelerated. As governments advised their citizens to socially distance and to practice washing their hands regularly in order to minimise the contagion of the virus, contactless payments have been popular amongst retailers that were able to remain open.
We just have to look at retailers like Costa and Ted Baker in the UK who have adopted card-only payment policies in order to reduce contamination and increase hygiene precautions. Yet the relationship between the contagion of coronavirus and the rise of a cashless society are felt in other parts of the world. According to TechHq, Asia is overtaking the US when it comes to cashless payments. This is largely due to psychological factors surrounding the coronavirus, and that cash could be a mechanism that can spread the virus. Essentially, governments globally are ‘sanitizing’ cash and society is heading a place where people will be cashless.
That said, cash has been declining. In 2012, Total Processing reported that the use of cash plummeted and since, there has been a year on year downward decline. Simultaneously, debit card use has been on the incline.
Initially, contactless payments were adopted and used by young adults. However, through time, older consumers have adopted the same technology and adapted to contactless payments.
The popularity of cashless payments is also due to the fact they make business sense. They reduce the wait times at stores and offer a more seamless approach to purchasing products. Thus, cashless payments are more efficient and provide a better consumer experience. This in turn has led to the rise of loyalty programmes and customer data that have been linked to contactless payments technology. Retailers are able to collect data surrounding their customers and thus offer more personalised and tailored marketing.
On the other hand, in terms of personal banking, carrying contactless cards or using a smartphone is widely adopted and provides convenience for customers. For instance, if they lose their card, they can freeze it within seconds and manage their money quickly and securely in the space of an app.
Yet payment firms are embracing new technology to take things further and to provide a more beneficial experience to their customers. We have already witnessed the development of biometric technologies, whereby a customer can verify a payment with their fingerprint. However, other developments include Mastercard collaborating with transport companies to explore how a person’s gait can enable them to identity and verify payments. Over in Singapore, Techwire Asia reports efforts in working towards facial recognition payments. In our strides towards a cashless society, pay by face could be a new reality for its 4 million citizens.
As society moves towards this cashless world, Vorto is at the forefront to provide its private and corporate customers with their own named multi-currency ‘e-wallet’ account. This one account can handle 30+ currencies and therefore offers our clients the ability to invoice in any currency using the same set of banking details. Not only does this mean everything can be managed from one place, but it also eliminates those annoying sending and receiving fees that banks charge.
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