Life in a Cashless Society

Recently I attended Mintel’s Big Conversation where they discussed their predictions for future trends within technology – one of the most interesting points for myself was the future of contactless payments.

Although contactless payments were made available in the UK a couple of years ago, since the launch of Apple Pay in the UK I’ve used contactless payments constantly. There’s no denying contactless payments make everyone’s life that tiny bit easier – companies are noticing this and since the success of Apple Pay we’ve seen other companies jumping on this bandwagon. PayPal has launched their own contactless service as well as PayQwiq, Tesco and even Fitbit who will be launching a contactless payment enabled wrist band in 2017.

39% of the UK believe that a cashless society is inevitable and with over 3 billion payments made via contactless method over the last year they can’t be far off the truth.

The biggest problem with contactless…

Safety is the biggest concern with contactless due to how easy and unprotected the method is – although this may be true for card payments, devices such as smart watches and smart phones are favoured by 29% of the UK who would rather use a smart device for contactless payments. These devices are far more secure with most needing either a fingerprint or a passcode each time it’s worn– therefore if you happen to lose your device you can be safe in the knowledge that no one will start a spending spree before you have time to cancel.

A lot of experimenting is going on with these methods and some companies are even saying you don’t need any sort of device in the future, just your fingerprint – although this is yet to take off anywhere, we’ll have to see how it unfolds. For now, 50% of the UK believe that cash is the only 100% secure way of making a payment but we should see this figure drastically change over the next few years.

What does this mean for brands?

With the payment process being streamlined this means brands can focus on the customer experience and begin to open cashless stores. Waitrose was the first large retailer to open a cashless store back in August 2016 and although the trend of cashless is on the rise, we’ll see in due course if we are really destined for a world without physical money.


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