Cash no longer king

A new report published by Discover Global Network, the payments brand of Discover Financial Services, and UKHospitality predicts that by 2021 the number of payments made electronically – using card, contactless, or mobile devices – will overtake the number of those made in cash.

The report, entitled Future of Payments, combines insights and data from some of the UK’s leading hospitality businesses.

It highlights that only eight per cent of the world’s money exists in physical cash, illustrating a marked shift in recent years towards electronic and mobile payments, coupled with the much-documented rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

As payments are increasingly moving towards digital and mobile methods, consumer expectation for immediacy and simplicity is likely reaching a tipping point. The report predicts that the future of payments will be centred on more seamless and instantaneous transactions, forecasting that the quick integration of customer preferences when it comes to payments will be key to staying ahead of the game.

While the report recommends that businesses should prepare themselves as the trend for digital spending continues, it also showed that traditional methods of payments will not disappear in the near future. It recommends that investing in new payment methods can help businesses stay competitive, but they must also continue to offer a wide variety of payment methods to suit all customer tastes.

“Our day-to-day interactions, including how we pay for things, continues to change as we see the technology landscape evolve,” said Soumya Dev Chakrabarty, director of payment innovation at Discover Global Network.

Kate Nicholls, UKH chief executive, said: “Technology is rapidly changing how we live our lives, not least how we pay for things. As this new report shows, it will not be long before payments in the traditional sense will be more of an alternative than the norm; just recently, for instance, the future of 1p and 2p coins came into question. The report sets out a clear picture that businesses will need to embrace new payment methods if they are to stay competitive.