New technologies are rapidly displacing coins and notes across the globe. According to Euromonitor International, 2016 was the first year in which the amount of money spent with cards was higher than with cash. A lot has happened since then. Although the pace of transition varies from country to country, there are several signs that we are rapidly heading towards a cashless society; Worldline [Euronext: WLN], European leader in the payments and transactional services industry, has identified five indicators that point to a cashless future.
1. Instant payments are as quick as cash
Electronic payments have historically been at a disadvantage to cash because of the delay in processing payments from one bank account to another, which can last several hours or even days. Since November 2017, when the European Instant Payments initiative went live, it has become possible to transfer euro amounts in less than ten seconds. Instant payments are considered to have the potential to be a real game-changer in the payments industry – and an important trigger for consumers and merchants to go cashless.
2. Not only is cash disappearing, but so are cards
Consumers are increasingly using new forms of payment methods. Experts believe that cards will lose market share in the coming years. This is partly due to developments such as the introduction of PSD2, the EU’s second Payment Services Directive, which enables merchants to trigger payments directly from customers and bypass the fees and potential fraud involved with credit cards. In response, the card schemes are developing services such as instant card payments, digital wallets and payments integrated with the IoT. They are also expanding into non-card payments, most notable with Mastercard’s acquisition of Vocalink.
3. Shopping and paying with voicebots
Voicebots are opening up new ways for merchants to connect with customers 24/7, thanks to powerful technologies such as machine learning and Natural Language Processing. Ovum has forecast that by 2020, 80% of brands will use chatbots for customer interactions. By directly linking a payment option to the voicebot, the shopping experience is fast and time-saving. This is expected to be just the beginning of the dominance of voice in online retail, with voice biometric recognition and authentication as a next step.
4. Cash is expensive
According to Mastercard estimates, printing and distributing cash can imply high costs for national economies, of up to 1.5% of GDP. National regulators and banks are increasingly realising the cost benefits of moving to a cashless society, not only to improve the speed of transactions and lower costs but also to increase traceability, which is of great interest to governments and tax authorities.
5. The cashless society is coming
In countries like Sweden, Belgium and South Korea, the cashless revolution is happening very quickly. The Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, predicts that cash transactions will make up less than 0.5% of the value of all payments made in the country in 2020. South Korea is targeting to go completely coinless in 2020. And since November 2017, the Indian government has embarked on a demonetisation policy which is seen as a significant step towards making India a cashless economy.
With payment processes speeding up and becoming ever simpler for businesses and consumers, the growth of non-cash payments presents exciting opportunities for issuers, acquirers and merchants.
Worldline [Euronext: WLN] is the European market leader in payment and transaction services. Worldline’s forward-looking innovations and services enable companies to reach their end customers in a targeted way and to offer them modern and seamless services. With more than 45 years’ experience, Worldline is a major player in the B2B2C field. Worldline supports all companies and public administrations in this ever-changing market and makes a major contribution to their success. Worldline offers a unique and flexible business model based on a growing global portfolio and which includes comprehensive support. Worldline’s activities are divided into three business areas: Merchant Services, Mobility & e-Transactional Services, and Financial Services including equensWorldline. Worldline employs more than 9,400 people worldwide and generates an annual turnover of €1.6 billion. Worldline is an Atos subsidiary.