We think nothing of tapping to pay with a card, phone or smart device – but we can expect this way of working to be replaced
Tap-and-pay has become so widespread that most of us are caught out if we jump in a taxi or pop into a newsagent waving our card, phone or smartwatch around, only to be told it’s cash-only.
Indeed, contactless transactions overtook chip-and-PIN payments in the UK for the first time in October 2018. According to payment processing company Worldpay, nearly half of all UK payments, including cash, are now contactless, thanks partly to a 114pc increase in the use of mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
But, apart from our blushes, if we have to put back our magazine and bag of crisps because of an empty purse, it’s not we consumers losing out from cash-only businesses; it’s the retailers themselves. While historically people would carry cash for small purchases, consumers now expect businesses to meet their demands.
Nick Healy, managing director of payment card processor Suresite, says: “Consumers like the speed of contactless transaction and the fact that tapping their card doesn’t feel like really spending money.”
Another change will be the £30 ceiling for contactless payments increasing to £50 by 2021, according to Mr Healy, reflecting rising prices of goods and services, and also increasing consumer and retailer confidence in contactless security.
He also predicts that payment cards will start to be phased out in the next 10 years and could disappear altogether by the 2030s.
“It is the card itself, rather than the idea of contactless payments, that I see going the way of the iPod, pager and fax machine,” Mr Healy says.