Cash Won’t Be Preferred Mobile Payment Method by 2030

November 27, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

The notion of a cashless society—one in which cash is subsumed by mobile payments tools—isn’t new, and for a while we were well on our way toward one in various places. Yet just ahead of that great apotheosis, even the Swedes pulled back from the brink and gave cash a place. A new report sent our way from EY, meanwhile, suggests that that pullback may not last much longer.

The EY report, labeled almost ominously the “End of Cash Report”, notes that many consider a cashless society to have a lot of benefit to it. However, there are some key points that need to be addressed before it can truly go forth, kind of like what we found with Sweden. Key advantages included greater convenience and crime prevention.

However, for 100 percent of respondents in Asia, Africa, Australasia, Latin America and the Middle East, there was a common thread that impacted the cashless notion: social exclusion. Essentially, some people did not have the means to put a cashless economy to good use, and others don’t particularly like or understand such tools. This means that a purely cashless economy would leave a lot of users twisting in the wind, and that left many respondents cold.

This may only be a temporary problem. Ninety-six percent of all respondents believed that digital payments—which naturally includes mobile payments tools—would be the leading form of payment in 2030. Fifty-nine percent believe that mobile payments will be the ultimate winner, though 31 percent believe biometrics like facial recognition or fingerprints will prove the winner.

That’s not to say a combined effort wouldn’t do; some mobile payments tools depend on biometrics as a security feature. Rather, the devices from which mobile payments tools typically operate do. While the notion of cutting out the middleman and simply using a thumbprint as a tokenized checking account document is appealing, it does pose something of an issue to the unbanked or underbanked.

Still, the concept has some validity to it. While we may not see an end of cash by 2030, we don’t particularly need to. Mobile payments as an option is good enough, and will likely have its share of adherents for reduced crime and greater convenience.