Kasey Cassells (Global) - The Future of Money

They say that money makes the world go around - but thanks to technological advances, currency as we know it is changing. Although we’ve been able to use ‘virtual’ money in place of cash for many years (by using debit and credit cards, online payments and even checks), technology is constantly emerging that could change the face of currency even further.

In the quest for ‘frictionless’ payments, several new technologies have emerged in recent years that aim to make your money more accessible and manageable than ever – all without any cash ever changing hands.

The latest offering to hit the headlines is Pingit, a mobile app from British bank Barclays which allows users to send and receive money from their bank accounts instantly using just their phone number. It seems like such a simple solution, it’s a wonder it wasn’t available before. It looks like other banks will follow suit, making mobile payments easier than ever.

This is just one of many solutions that have emerged to meet the popularity of mobility today. Most mainstream banks now have mobile banking capabilities, allowing customers to check their accounts and make transfers from wherever they may be.

Taking the idea one step further is near field communication (NFC) in mobile handsets. This technology, when used with an application like Google Wallet, allows the user to simply swipe their phone to pay for goods at specially fitted pay points.

But the future isn’t focused solely on mobility. We’ve been making transactions online for years now, usually entering our credit or debit card details at the online checkout. However, in 2009 a new type of online currency called Bitcoin emerged. Bitcoin aims to help you store and transfer money safely, cheaply and quickly anywhere in the world yourself, without relying on anyone else.

So could these emerging technologies spell the end of physical cash in the near future?

Despite the potential to do so, credit and debit cards didn’t manage to push cash out of circulation. Although only 3% of global money supply is in notes and coins, most people feel more comfortable handling physical money, and for most it’s a force of habit.

There are also concerns about security and fraud. Money is the asset we all want to protect the most, and when it comes to introducing an unfamiliar way of managing it, we can be wary – no matter how many security measures are put in place.

However, these were concerns that many people had about credit and debit cards in the early days and, despite some security flaws, they have still become part of everyday life alongside cash. So maybe in the near future we’ll all be paying online with virtual money and swiping our mobiles at fast food drive throughs, but for now most of us still feel more comfortable with a pocket full of metal discs and decorated paper.

Do you think cash will become obsolete in the future? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts.

By Kasey Cassells, e-Content Writer, IDG Connect


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