A cashless society draws closer and closer with less than 20% of all in-person transactions using cash. The reported number of UK consumers who have begun a ‘cashless lifestyle’ has increased dramatically since 2019 and the pandemic.
Numerous retail giants, including Ikea and Nando’s have even told consumers that they are no longer accepting in-store cash payments. Consumers must instead use their debit or credit card. It is thought that the decrease in cash payments has been partly fuelled by the increase in the number of online shoppers. Due to the lockdown’s brought about by the pandemic, many customers have switched to shopping online.
Where in-person transactions are concerned, there has been a doom in contactless and mobile payments. In 2020, these payment methods accounted for 27% of all payments in the UK. Previously, the limit for contactless transactions was just £30. In 2022, the limit is £100 per transaction and there is no daily limit in general.
Everything has Moved Online
It is difficult to name any retailer or company which does not have an online presence. A retailer without an online presence is at a distinct disadvantage to its competitors. There is now even a whole industry dedicated to improving search engine results for companies/websites.
With companies looking to take advantage of the number of online consumers, it should not be surprising that transactions have slowly evolved over time to take place primarily online. Consumers partake in shopping online because it is easier – they do not have to leave their house and their purchases can be done in a much quicker way.
There are several examples of successful industries which have been ultra-successful in the move to the online sphere, but the one we will discuss now is the online casino industry.
The casino industry, even before the internet, was a simple one. Casinos are a place where consumers can partake in their favourite gambling games. The downside for many was that casinos were often only open at night and sometimes required a relatively long journey to get to. However, the birth of the internet and tech advancements allowed casinos to move their industry online.
The Success of Online Casinos
Online casino gameplay has been perfected for the online world, from the games to the ease of casino banking. The games use HTML5 technology which allows them to run smoothly and perfectly on both computers and mobile devices. A great example of the radical switch from casino gambling to gambling online was the poker boom of the mid-2000s.The boom was so huge, that the James Bond film Casino Royale changed Ian Fleming’s story from Baccarat to poker just so they could take advantage of the increased popularity of Texas Hold’em poker.
Additionally, due to the advent of online payment options, online casinos have been able to work with a variety of payment systems, most notably Visa and Mastercard. However, in the past few years, casino sites have begun working with even more modern payment companies such as Apple Pay and e-wallets including PayPal. There are now casinos which allow deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrencies.
In the UK alone, there are hundreds of different online casino brands, with the industry itself worth several billions per year. Of course, casinos are just one example of companies taking advantage of the online world, there are thousands of others.
Is a Cashless Society Inevitable?
There are still consumers who prefer to pay with cash as it means there is no chance of banking fraud and their transactions will not leave a trail, but is this enough to stop a cashless society? Often, it is the older generation who still pay with cash. Younger people are so used to using credit cards and mobile payments, for many it seems strange to use cash.
What happens in the future depends on what consumers want. If there is an uproar when retailers decide to accept digital payments only, then it’s reasonable to expect that those retailers will change direction and still accept cash payments. On the other hand, it does not seem unfeasible that as time goes on, more and more people will pay via contactless and cash payments will be deemed void.