Cashless Society - what, when and why?

Ryan Hervey 30/03/2017 10:46:33

Society: “A group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large group sharing the same geographical territory, typically subject to the same political and dominant cultural expectations.”

In payment terms, ‘cultural expectations’ have largely aligned with cash-based transactions. Over the years Chip & Pin and contactless cards have joined the party. It now appears the end is nigh for the crisp notes of old, with new blockbuster FinTech solutions inbound to modernise the whole process.

But what is a cashless society, when do we expect to see it and why do we need it?

What is Cashless?

To put it in Lehman’s terms, it’s the transfer of financial information between parties without the involvement of notes and coins.

This can involve simple card transactions, use of PayPal and Bitcoin, mobile transactions with Apple Pay, as well as your dear friends here at Qpal with our payment technology. Methods differ – for example Apple Pay links directly to your bank account, while Qpal uses e-wallet top-up functionality, or NFC card synchronisation.

Use of NFC card readers is one method of ensuring data is passed along appropriately from customer to vendor banks. One-off, encrypted signatures are also produced during contactless transactions – to ensure fraud is kept to an all-time minimum, and data passes along without a hitch.
The concept of a cashless society takes these transactions and makes them the norm, with cash an almost, if not completely obsolete commodity. For example, charity donation boxes, and street magazine vendors have started to use electronic card readers in Sweden – to ensure the maximum amount of business is taken without the old “I’ve got no change” excuse.

E-Commerce in general has erupted over the past decade or two, with eBay, PayPal and Amazon taking cashless transactions and online marketplaces to the next level. According to WorldPay, the global e-commerce market is expected to hit around $2.4 trillion by 2019, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing up, with innovations such as Amazon Echo leading the way for ease of transaction.

When can we expect to see these changes?

It’s happening all around you as we speak! A recent headline showcased India’s desire to become a cashless society, with mobile wallets and contactless cards being the primary drivers to modernising the economy.

This has been met with some backlash however, with the decision to remove certain banknotes from the economy inconveniencing households nationwide. In November 2016, in a move to curb corruption and eliminate counterfeit bills, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the country by announcing the discontinuation of all 500- and 1,000-rupee (about $7 and $14) notes — which account for roughly 86 percent of all money in circulation. Yet it was a bold move that will surely produce long-term benefit, because it will accelerate the push to digital currency and the modernization of the Indian economy.

Time will tell if this dramatic shift will be the catalyst to propel India to becoming a financial superpower – the so- called “Social Experiment” could trail blaze cash-heavy countries to leap into the cashless age, leaving the paper trail firmly behind

Research conducted by Dubai-based CPI Financial indicates that use of a mobile wallet is far less than the world average at 6 times per month; however with the introduction of Qpal and Dubai Smart City directives in the region, this average is set to increase. Dubai, in fact, has spawned several new Fintech start-up solutions looking to modernise the way we pay – viva la revolution!

This is a sentiment shared by the UAE Government, with a new memorandum of understanding taken with 16 banks in order to develop a “Mobile Wallet” and cement Dubai as a truly smart city.

Why else do we want these changes?

Negating the need to have coins jangling around your pockets is always a plus point, as well as speeding up transaction and service time in consumer facing businesses. However, a more philanthropic viewpoint is the benefits it can hold for those in developing countries, be it financially or technologically.

For example, Vodafone’s M-Pesa service allows users in countries such as Kenya to pay effectively without cash. Originally designed to pay off loans, the service now accounts for half of the Kenyan GDP. The use of the app has led to reductions in fraud and bribes from Kenyan police officers, and lifted 200,000 households out of poverty due to money-saving mechanisms introduced in the app.

Qpal feels that the cashless society will only mean great things for the live events industry. Too long have we been stuck in spiralling F&B queues, missing the acts we love to watch and having to carry excessive amounts of cash with us – all because clunky transactions have been holding us back!
We want to give you time back – in a world where cash is losing it’s status as king, we aim to transcend with the times and provide an accessible, easy to top-up mobile cashless solution which lets you enjoy what you want, when you want!

Qpal launches in Dubai soon – follow us on @QpalSocial on Twitter and Instagram to keep updated with the cashless festival revolution!


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