Nowadays our lives are indeed ever more cyber. With mobile devices becoming almost inseparable from daily activity, and the emergence of wearable devices and the Internet of Things, we are becoming increasingly more attached and reliant upon technological devices. Even our social lives have become digitalized through social media and online dating, as well as our professional experiences with virtual conferences and cloud computing now commonplace.
One key aspect of technology that encapsulates this shift is the emergence of mobile payment services such Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. This technology serves to further connect our digital lives with our physical ones, building on the development of chip and pin card payments. However, Apple Pay brings this to another level, allowing users to centralize their communication and social channels with their personal finances on one device – the smartphone.
This technology is only expected to increase in use, MEF Minute predicts, even surpassing cash. A report by the UK bank Halifax found that “cash makes up just £18.33 of every £100 spent (18%), with digital transactions soaring over the last few years. Smartphone usage has powered the change, and mobile transactions are expected to grow from £9.7bn this year to £53.6bn by 2024.” In other words, this is not a fad that will die out any time soon. Quite the opposite is expected, which will eventually lead to an even wider adoption of digitized payment methods.
Michael Dooijes, CEO of MyOrder, predicts within this MEF Minute article that not only should we “expect a further decrease of cash payments,” but also that “eventually smartphones won’t only replace cash, but also plastic.” Dooijes further discusses this development within his illustration of a “complete mobile ecosystem with all your purchases integrated in a single app. Your smartphone not only replaces your bank account, but becomes a sort of Swiss-army knife for communication and purchase with access to a mobile hub of value anytime, anywhere”.
When funds can be attributed to a binary number and items and services can be accessed easily with e-wallets, and even pre-paid vouchers for online shopping like paysafecard, the role of traditional brick and mortar banking falls into question. It’s highly unlikely that banks will disappear altogether, since their role in the financial sphere extends far beyond personal banking. However, e-wallets and mobile payment technology do bring into sharp focus the very concept of currency and its utilization, which will radically change their role in our private finances.