Business

We are increasing leading a cashless life

THERE are two types of people. Those who won’t leave home without cash in their pocket and those who rarely think about “cash” at all. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be in the latter camp, viewing money as a digital currency that won’t weigh you down.

For older readers, like me, you’re probably somewhere in between. But that’s now changing for everyone - and fast.

Already in the UK, at least one in 10 adults now choose to live a largely cashless life, preferring contactless and mobile payments. Among those aged 25 to 34, the figure is now approaching 20 per cent, according to the banking body UK Finance.

It said that in 2006, around 62 per cent of all payments in the UK were made using cash and by 2016, that fell to 40 per cent. By 2026, it is predicted cash will be used for just 21 per cent of all payments.

In our daily lives, you’re probably using contactless payments more than you think and shopping online more than you realise. Cash is now definitely in question and your mobile is taking over, with online services and popular apps such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Monzo growing hugely in popularity every day.

This huge growth in popularity is now powering a new generation of businesses to expand, innovate and win new commercial opportunities which “cash” could never provide. Using new mobile technology, supported by rapid developments in cloud technologies, the volume of cash changing hands can only decline.

With the reduction in the number of ATMs and the growth in online banking, it’s already moving this way.

There are also many businesses in the UK and Ireland who are now going cash-free, particularly in hospitality where holding cash on site remains a security worry for most and a headache for insurers.

While perceivably radical right now, those businesses who have gone completely cashless extol its benefits, particularly when it comes to security, cash flow, stock and accounting management, banking and finance – and nobody has to worry about cash going astray.

For a modern business, wireless payments and the ability to execute these will become increasingly important. More businesses will need to provide the service as more customers have the means to demand it. It also means businesses can offer customers more choice and accept payments the way customers want to pay.

Adopting a mobile payment strategy can help your business. If it’s easy for your customers, it should be easier for you.

Mobile payments can provide customer data, such as how frequently they shop at your business, how much they spend, and what their preferred wireless payment method is. This information can be used to target your customers based on their shopping behaviour and demand patterns.

Aside from the obvious benefits, there can be few businesses who will want to deny a customer who wants to pay – whatever the means.

The power of the mobile phone in all ways will only increase, yet the benefits remain great.

Flexibility, convenience, remote working, file sharing, cheap internet calls anywhere in the world, video and audio conferencing, tracking and emails on the go, its place in the future of business is firmly secured.

:: Eric Carson is director of Rainbow Communications and can be contacted via www.rainbowcomms. com. Rainbow Communications can also be followed on Twitter: @Rainbow_Comms

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