A Cashless America? One in Five Look for Mobile Payments & More to Take Over

May 28, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

The concept of a cashless society is one of those things you hear about every so often, especially in Europe. Sometimes it crosses into other, unexpected areas, and even the United States will talk about it every so often. A new report released from the Global Acceptance Transaction Engine (GATE) and sent our way suggests that a cashless US could be a few years away.

The GATE study—titled, effectively enough “The Future of Payments Report: Cash is No Longer King”—reveals that roughly 20 percent of respondents believe that payments will be completely cashless in their lifetime, reverting to mobile payments, cards, or similar fare. What’s more, among that 20 percent, about half—48 percent—believe that the change will be quick, taking place within the next five years.

Developments get more unexpected from there, as the study found that another 20 percent of respondents are actively frustrated by cash-only businesses, and 18 percent expect to see their total count of cashless transactions increase just in the next year.

Moreover, 11 percent of respondents want to put an eWallet system to use, but haven’t yet due to a cornucopia of worries. Security led the way with 43 percent of respondents believing cashless payments aren’t secure. Sixteen percent wanted to see more places accepting mobile payments, and 38 percent are concerned that losing their phone means basically losing their wallet too.

However, the studied believe benefits are afoot in cashless payments, including 33 percent calling for much easier travel, 32 percent looking to basically never worry about not having enough cash, 29 percent looking for more efficient payment processes and 27 percent finding budgeting easier.

Sadly, none of this is really news in mobile payments. What’s news is that these are all the same issues we’ve been looking at for the last few years. From security to convenience, the attitudes at the consumer and business levels are all pretty much the same as they were when Apple Pay debuted almost four years ago.

The market isn’t moving very quickly, odd bright spots like Starbucks aside, and it’s a very strange development. Though some foresee a cashless future ahead, the speed of the market itself may keep cash king a lot longer than even this study projects.