How might payment systems look in the future?

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Payments evolution is on the cards

In the last decade alone the world has seen an incredible amount of technological advances which are continually changing the way people go about their daily business. Smartphones, for instance, have completely revolutionised the mobile phone market, to the extent where it is now hard to imagine a world without them.

This could well be the case for payment systems, given the opportunities which new technological developments have presented. Here are some of the ways payment systems may evolve in the future.

Contactless

The contactless revolution is already well and truly underway. UK consumers spend around £4bn per year on contactless card payments alone, showing just how widespread their use has become. Offering the user the ability to pay for their shopping with a simple tap of their card, they can save a significant amount of time in the long run.

It is possible that, as contactless technology develops, the transaction spending limits may rise, especially if new security systems are put in place which prevent anyone but the user from using the contactless feature. They may well even replace physical cash altogether, as money moves ever more into the digital sphere.

Payment security

Speed of payments comes at the expense of security

Another major element of payment systems which is likely to evolve is security. Often, advances in the speed of payments come at the expense of security (contactless card payments bypass the chip and pin security method, for instance). 

This means that new security methods will have to be developed which match the developments in payment systems. Many of these security methods will likely be biometric, with fingerprint and iris scanners already being used for some devices (smartphones, for instance). As payment security develops, so too will consumer confidence in new payment methods.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has been making headlines over the last few years, mainly due to its astounding rises in value, which many have labelled as a speculative bubble. Nonetheless, bitcoin’s newfound fame has stimulated a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies (digital currencies which exist only online).

Bitcoin trading through bitcoin CFDs is now available to those who do not wish to buy cryptocurrencies directly, suggesting that bitcoin is entering the mainstream as a financial asset. It could be the case that bitcoin-only shops are not far off from becoming a reality.

Online payments

Around 87% of UK consumers have made a purchase online in the last 12 months, showing just how significant the ecommerce industry has become. With internet access now almost universal, it is likely that this number will continue to rise. 

This may mean that, in the future, the majority of payments might be made online, with fewer people using high street shops to purchase goods. Again, this would mark a shift away from cash payments, which would instead be replaced by digital transfers. 

The world may well look very different in the decades to come, and payment systems will no doubt come to reflect this. With the focus now shifting to digital payments and possibly even cryptocurrencies, it could well be the case that physical cash is about to enter its final hour.

(A Retail Times’ collaborative article)