With Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Square, credit cards, bitcoin and many other options to pay digitally, a cashless society can seem imminent.
But there are elements of the trend that should worry payment companies, namely security.
Research from Global Acceptance Transaction Engine (GATE) and YouGov, a third-party research firm, found that 43% of Americans don’t think going cashless is secure enough. Perhaps a more practical reason for hesitating is that 38% of Americans are worried they will lose their device, or the battery will die when needed, and those fears may be enough to keep cash on hand.
The research uncovered many of the limitations consumers are currently facing as they attempt to go completely cashless including limits on how connected e-wallet providers, merchants, and other payment service providers are to each other, according to Richard Foster, a co-founder of GATE and its chief executive. The onus is on these e-wallets and payment providers to overcome them and deliver a smooth, cashless transaction between merchant and consumer.
Once these security and convenience issues are addressed in the mind of consumers, we will likely see a faster mainstream adoption of digital payments. While credit reports do not indicate when cash is used, new alternative credit data could start to help improve your credit score, if taken into account.
There are reasons for payment companies to embrace cashless strategies. The study also found one in five Americans thinks their payments will be completely cash-free in their lifetime, and 48% of those people think it will happen in the next five years.
Considering an estimated 24% of U.S. citizens make all their purchases using cash, going cashless in five years is an aggressive forecast.
However, there are plenty of examples of a cashless reality happening across the world. For example, in Sweden and Japan, some businesses are preparing to be cash-free — even some street performers have gone cashless.