Do you remember when paying by check was all the rage, when signing that slip of paper meant you had to wait up to a week until the money actually left your account or when you got paid?
The way we work, the way we shop and spend has changed dramatically over the last decade and looks set to keep evolving for as long as we have the desire for greater control and security over our transactions.
From cash to cheques to card, the evolution of our payment methods has finally led us to a cashless, even cardless system so what’s next for high street and online retailers?
Payment nowadays is about speed and safety. If you run an online business you probably list the option of PayPal among your payment methods. This option is preferable to many, as it doesn’t even involve removing your credit card from your purse or wallet, just logging into a payment platform that holds all your details for you.
It also offers the customer some protection over their transactions as it can be used as a mediator between seller and buyer in case of a dispute over services.
Users too can make payments to friends or contacts with just an email address which, as well as saving time, also negate the need for any bank account details to change hands.
If you run a storefront then chances are you’ve already gone contactless, offering your customers the chance to pay with a simple tap of their card or phone.
This system offers customers protection thanks to a set limit on payment but for the retailer there carries a payment processing fee that seems unlikely to disappear just yet.
So is there anything out there that looks likely to out mode contact-less or chip and pin payment? The answer is yes.
You don’t have to delve too deeply into tech magazines before you come across an article about crypto currencies. While, for the average shopper, this might not mean much for those following the growing popularity of Bitcoin, it’s an exciting time.
These crypto currencies are completely different from our everyday legal tender, but they are fast becoming the currency of choice with people starting to buy real property, services and goods with currencies such as Bitcoin (other ones are available).
For those on the outside it sounds like a world only tech heads would enter but with the extra security, chance to earn extra currency and ease in which you can get started, it might be worth getting on board right now.
The beauty of Bitcoin is that once you have paid for something, it’s permanent. This protects sellers everywhere and it makes it very hard for would-be criminals to carry out fraudulent transactions. Of course this does have a knock-on effect if you ask for your money back but over time these issues will be adequately addressed for online retailers. Experts believe that using this form of payment will, in fact, provide extra protection for both the retailer and customer, making it well worth carrying out some research into.
The second thing that makes crypto currencies attractive is that with a little effort you can mine your own coins and add funds to your pot. The process, initially, can be little complicated but there are other routes such as simple trading and selling of your own services. While the value of Bitcoin has fluctuated over the years, it seems likely that once more and more of us take it on, earning more currency will become easier and it will hold its value more readily.
Once you get started it seems like the most natural form of payment in the world. But how would this work for a high street or online retailer?
For those offering products or goods through a website, offering payment through Bitcoin might seem a crazy idea but as more and more retailers jump on board the ease in trading will slowly become more and more attractive.
Those with a physical shop front might find the process slightly more of a trickier transformation. However, with existing Bitcoin bank cards already available, it seems increasingly likely that the contactless payment system will apply to Bitcoin users as readily as it is for traditional currencies.
Business experts are already floating the idea of widening the scope for payment, both online and offline, so the question really is: how will you embrace the future of payment and start saving your Bitcoins for a crypto currency shopping spree?