The future is cashless – this is what our Wirecard experts regularly report on this blog. But as we also find other perspectives exciting, we have asked various experts with different backgrounds for their insights, experiences and opinions about cashless as part of our "Cashless Think Tank" interview series (click here to read all parts published so far).
Maik, from your perspective, what are the most important advantages of cashless payment?
Cashless payment has a number of advantages. The biggest advantage from the consumer’s point of view: there’s no issue with cash supply. Despite good ATM coverage, the consumers have to take care of their own supply. The advantage becomes clear in the following comparison: Imagine you don’t have to drive to a gas station with your car anymore – that’s how cashless payment works. Another important advantage is the traceability of payments.
One frequently cited advantage of cash is its anonymity – that’s true, but this is actually also a disadvantage. In case of doubt, consumers do not know where their money is going. Cashless payments can be traced. The forthcoming Apple Card, for example, wonderfully shows the possibilities of cashless payments. Not only are payments automatically categorized, but cash-free payments with the Apple Card and Apple Pay can be assigned directly to the store on a card.
Cash-free payments are also an advantage for merchants, as the supply and the collection of cash is not only expensive but also time-consuming.
What are the most important trends that are helping cashless to become more prevalent worldwide?
Mobile payment methods such as Google and Apple Pay have arrived and will increasingly become the norm in everyday life.
I strongly believe that wearables will play a greater role in the future and that payment functions will also be integrated into other devices. This could be the car that automatically pays at the gas station, a payment ring – such as the K-Ring – or wristbands with a payment function, such as those used at festivals.
"The payment process is only a means to an end and will gradually disappear" - payment expert Maik Klotz (@klotzbrocken) in his #CashlessThinkTank interview on the #WirecardBlog
All this shows: payment becomes more and more invisible. If you look at the Amazon Go Stores in the US, you can see where the journey can take you. Paying has almost become insignificant there. The consumer doesn't notice the payment process anymore, because it happens completely invisibly in the background.
How do you think cashless payments will be made in 2030?
I’ve already mentioned one example: Amazon is leading the way with Amazon Go. Uber also shows where the future could be. Both solutions show that the payment process is only a means to an end and will gradually disappear.
The authentication process, whether that be biometric – which is already happening today with mobile payment via Google and Apple Pay – or via another means is of secondary importance. In the future, payment will increasingly take place in the background.