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Changing Payments and the Journey Towards a Cashless Society

TFT sat down with Simon Black, CEO of PPRO, (the cross-border e-payments specialist) to ask for his thoughts on the future of payments.

TFT: What are the major changes that you have seen in Payments throughout your career? Is the recent pace change sustainable? 

Simon Black, CEO of PPRO

Simon: We live in a culture of increasing convenience which has influenced, and will dramatically transform, the way in which we pay for items. Both now and into the future. Consumers today can buy what they want, where they want and how they want. It is, therefore, essential that businesses offer a comprehensive range of payment methods to ensure a frictionless experience.

The biggest change in the payments industry that I have seen is definitely the shift to cashless payment methods and the variety of Local Payment Methods that have come into play to support this trend. Bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards, e-wallets and mobile wallets, are now the top payment methods used to process the 122 billion digital transactions made each year. Customers are paying less and less with cash, and it is slowly but surely becoming an object of the past. In fact, PPRO research has found that more than a quarter (26%) of consumers now find it irritating when they are forced to pay by cash rather than by card.

It is, therefore, essential that businesses offer a comprehensive range of payment methods to ensure a frictionless experience.

Online retailers risk losing out on sales if they fail to address consumer payment preferences on a country-by-country basis. So long as businesses adhere to customer payment preferences, no matter where they are, they will be less likely to go to competitors that do. The popularity of mobile and contactless payments in the UK clearly demonstrates the acceptance of change when it comes to payments. From using contactless cards to pay for a train journey, paying UBER at the click of an app, or one-click shopping on Amazon, quick and easy is winning the war.

TFT: The Cashless Society – is it going to happen? If so, when?

Simon: Key players in the payments industry are showing clear signs that the UK is well on its way to becoming a cashless society. It now seems inevitable. Physical money is fast becoming redundant in today’s increasingly connected society with a third (33%) of the UK stating that they never use cash anymore. As a result, ATMs have seen less use, with 44% of us stating that we rarely use them to withdraw cash anymore.

A big factor when trying to predict cash relevancy is to consider a region’s population that has a bank account. In terms of the global population, our data indicates only 61% have a bank account, leaving 39% of the world unbanked and forced to utilise payment methods outside of a credit card or bank transfer.

A big factor when trying to predict cash relevancy is to consider a region’s population that has a bank account.

Having a large unbanked population doesn’t necessarily equate to have a population of non-spenders. Mexico has a largely unbanked population of 61%, yet it is now ranked second in e-commerce growth across the globe, showing a 59% increase in one year. What is interesting is that Mexico‘s payment split shows that almost a third (32%) of all online transactions were made using a cash-based payment method such as Oxxo.

Consequently, it’s not just consumers who are moving away from cash – more businesses than ever before are becoming cashless. Airlines, for example, such as British Airways no longer accept cash for onboard purchases.

The UK is swiftly moving towards a new era of the cashless society and we expect the next five years to be pivotal in seeing cashless payment methods well and truly taking over.

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