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Tech note, everyone – wearable technology is on the move!

We have often associated wearable technology with the fitness industry. Companies such as FitBit have produced spectacular results in this field, harnessing the ability to track and manage anything from distance run to calories burned over a certain period of time.
However, wearable tech is now leaving the wellbeing scene behind and advancing on to a period of world domination.
Advanced wearable biometrics can be used as a form of authentication for a number of things.
NEC corporation has recently adopted the software to identify people placed on ear readings – something previously unprecedented in the industry.
“The system enables biometric authentication via the otoacoustic emission, a sound made by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated, arising from the vibration of hair cells,” reports mobileidworld.
“According to a statement from NEC, its earbud device’s “otoacoustic authentication technology… recognizes the characteristics of a user’s ear”, suggesting that the emission is used to map the shape of the inner ear, which is presumably unique to the individual.”
The advancement of contactless, wearable technology is a clear indication of the continued progress of our industry.
The technical possibilities are endless – and NEC confirms this with future plans to commercialise the technology soon.
NEC plans to offer “services that combine individual authentication, indoor positioning, acoustic AR (augmented reality), vital sensing and other technologies”, according to NEC Business Development Division General Manager Tomonori Kumagai.
The contactless revolution has only just begun – don’t get left behind.

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Reasons why your Business NEEDS to make the switch to contactless payment solutions

More than just a saying or statistic, it has become reality that ‘Businesses that decline card payments are losing out’.

Sorry, we don’t take card payments’ should be a thing of the past as Britain quickly converts to a cashless society, not taking card payments should be something rarely heard of by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case just yet. 75% of all UK retail purchases are made by card; and yet still, more than two thirds of British small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) still don’t accept card payments.

With Cheaper PAY’ment solutions you can:

  • Accept Payments over the phone
  • Accept online Payments
  • Accept smart phone payments
  • Accept Chip ‘n’ Pin payments

How will these benefit your business?

  • Never miss a sale – Customers are able to buy your products anywhere at any time with secure online payments which means more sales for your business.
  • Beat your competitors – Customers are more likely to shop at a store that offers card payments.
  • Happier customers – Card payments are processed in a matter of seconds so customers can quickly continue with their day and you can get on with serving the next customer.
  • Lower bank fees – Handling less cash means fewer trips to the bank and more money back into your business.
  • More security – Extra features protect your business from fraudulent transactions and tell you immediately if a customer’s funds have not yet cleared.

Our low transaction costs are what make Cheaper Pay one of the most affordable merchant service suppliers available. Many card machine companies will charge you for a service that is designed to benefit growing businesses rather than hinder them.

At Cheaper Pay, we believe in supporting and innovating businesses with evolving technology. That is why we offer FREE quotes and a 3 months’ free trial to ensure that the payment solution you have chosen is compatible for your business.

To begin your journey to contactless payment get your free quote HERE.

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Take Payments Over the Phone

phone payments

We can help you get your business ready to take payments over the phone. Enquire today and get a free quote!

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Pepare for the next generation of card payments

Paying for your shopping using your smartphone just got even easier as Mastercard expands the reach of its mobile payment app.

The humble credit and debit card may be a step closer to extinction thanks to a new announcement from Mastercard.

The company has revealed a major expansion to its Masterpass digital wallet service that will allow customers for the first time.

Going forward, Masterpass should now work seamlessly on your smartphone, wearable device or tablet, letting you pay online, in-store, or using the NFC-enabled app with just one touch.

Masterpass makes paying for goods even easier

Masterpass makes paying for goods using your smartphone even easier

Mastercard says that the new service, which links to your current account, is perfect for a wide ranges of use cases, from paying for the tube in the morning to splitting the bill at lunch and ordering your weekly shop online.

Banks will also be able to build Masterpass into their own apps, bringing together all your various digital payment methods and apps in one place.

The company says that around 80 million people around the world will be able to benefit automatically from the new service, which launches in the US today before expanding to Europe later next year.

The news comes as competition in the mobile payment market continues to increase, as big players such as Apple and Samsung throw their weight behind the technology.

Since its launch in 2014, Apple Pay has helped popularize the idea of paying for good using a mobile phone in the UK, with thousands of businesses across the country supporting the technology.

 


Moore, M. (2016) Home. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/689626/mastercard-masterpass-contactless-shopping-payment-app-nfc (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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London’s contactless Tube payment system is going global

Other cities will soon be able to use TfL technology to develop their own contactless payment systems.

The contactless payment system used on London’s transport network will soon be modified for use in other cities.
A deal between Transport for London (TfL) and transportation firm Cubic will see the latter adapt the contactless ticking system and license it around the world. The deal, worth up to £15 million, will help TfL ensure fares don’t rise for the next four years, the mayor’s office said.

Cubic will be given access to London’s contactless system to allow it to tailor it to other transportation networks. The company first worked with TfL in 2003 to develop the technology behind Oyster and has since helped upgrade the system to support contactless payments from debit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Outside London, CTS provides similar ticketing technology to Brisbane, Chicago, Sydney and Vancouver. The non-exclusive deal with TfL will allow the company to integrate technology developed for London’s network into other transport systems.
According to TfL, more than 500 million journeys have been made by more than 12 million unique credit and debit cards since the contactless system launched on London’s busses in December 2012. The technology was expanded to cover Tube and rail in September 2014 and has been used by customers from 90 different countries with one in ten contactless transactions in the UK made on TfL’s network.

Cubic continues to run TfL’s ticketing and fare collection services on 8,500 busses, 1,900 Underground and Overground ticket gates and 1,600 ticket machines across the network.

 


Temperton, J. (2016) London’s contactless tube payment system is going global. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/london-underground-contactless-payments-licensing-deal (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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Visa: Most People Back Biometric Payments

Majority of people want to use biometrics when making payments, with fingerprints the favoured option.

New research from Visa has revealed that a clear majority of people are in favour of combining biometrics with their payment process.

The Visa Biometric Payments study surveyed over 14,000 consumers across seven European markets. And it comes at a time when the use of biometric technology is being actively debated as a way to improve transaction security.

Safer Transactions

Biometric technology of course has been around for many years now, but thanks to some high-profile launches of late such as Apple’s TouchID system and Windows Hello, the technology is being used by more and more people.

And the Visa survey revealed that two thirds (73 percent) of people believe that two-factor authentication, where a form of biometrics is used in conjunction with a payment device (i.e. a mobile device or card reader), would make for a more secure payment authentication.

Half of people (51 percent) believe that biometrics would make payments faster and easier, and 68 percent want to use biometrics as a method of payment authentication. The survey revealed that biometrics would mostly help online retailers, as nearly a third (31 percent) of people have at some stage abandoned a browser-based purchase because of the payment security process.

And it seems that 33 percent of people appreciate the fact that biometric authentication means their details would be safe even if their device was lost or stolen.

“Biometric identification and verification has created a great deal of excitement in the payments space because it offers an opportunity to streamline and improve the customer experience,” said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships. “Our research shows that biometrics is increasingly recognised as a trusted form of authentication as people become more familiar with using these capabilities on their devices.”

“Biometrics work best when linked to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies or with an additional authentication method,” said Vaux. “That’s why we believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach that considers a wide range of enabling technologies that contribute to a better end-to-end experience, from provisioning a card to making a purchase to checking your balance.”

What type?

Fingerprint recognition is viewed as the most favourable secure option by 81 percent of respondents. Iris scanning is backed by 76 percent of people.

But most people are comfortable with fingerprints, as 53 percent of people expressed a preference for fingerprint over other forms of biometric authentication when using it for payment. The other biometric choices such as voice or facial recognition as a payment method are much less popular.

The survey also found that 48 percent of respondents want to use biometric authentication for payments when on public transport. 47 percent want to use biometric authentication when paying at a bar or restaurant, and 46 percent want to use it to purchase goods and services on the high street at a coffee shop or fast food outlet for example. 40 percent want to use it when shopping online and 39 percent when downloading content.

Biometric Uptake

Biometric technology is seeing increasing use of late, not just because of its incorporation into mobile and computing devices.

Earlier this year HSBC launched new biometric logins for its customers. Barclays also allows some of its corporate clients and Wealth customers to log in to their accounts using a biometric reader, and also has voice recognition software, enabled for certain users, with RBS and NatWest also offering fingerprint technology to some customers.

Previous research has found that younger British consumers are the most comfortable with using biometric data to verify their accounts.

 

 


Jowitt, T. (2016) Visa: Most people back Biometric payments. Available at: http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/security/authentification/people-biometric-payments-195063 (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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Festival-goers snap up contactless technology as Qpal launches

QPAL, an Aberdeen-based start-up that has created an innovative technology solution for the events industry, officially launched on Saturday with its first successful deployment at a music and ale festival near Edinburgh.

Aiming to enhance event experiences for both organisers and attendees, Qpal is bringing its innovative web application, which enables efficient, smart and cashless payments via contactless technology, to the UK events industry.
Craig Buchan, founder and managing director of Qpal, comments: “The Qpal team is thrilled to officially launch after the first full deployment of our technology at the inaugural Hops in the Garden event, which took place near North Berwick.

“We developed this solution with the core aims of reducing queue times, increasing revenues, and giving event organisers access to real-time data – with the overarching mission of boosting and enriching live events for everyone involved. This is exactly what we achieved at Hops in the Garden, and we are set to do the same at upcoming events across the country.

“We were delighted to work alongside an early adopter of the Qpal technology, who fully embraced what we are trying to bring to the industry, and bought into our vision.”

Ian Stokes, manager of Hops in the Garden, adds: “From initially meeting the Qpal team, we knew this unique solution would be a great fit for our event. As our venue is relatively isolated with no cash machine on-site, Qpal was the perfect solution to ensure our attendees could easily purchase food and drink throughout the festival.”

The Qpal technology allows event attendees to load cash onto a branded card, and use its contactless technology to quickly and easily make payments throughout an event. This eliminates the need for cash or token systems, which are currently used across the events industry, and brings about a whole host of benefits to event organisers and attendees alike.

Ian continues: “We plan to host Hops in the Garden again next year, so the access to the data analytics is invaluable, enabling us to make key decisions based on a better understanding of our customers and their purchasing behaviour.

“We wish Craig and his team all the best for the future, and thank them for helping us to deliver a better event experience.”

In February this year, Qpal was accepted onto the exclusive 12-week Accelerator Programme in Aberdeen, which is run by Elevator UK, a business support organisation and centre of entrepreneurship based in Aberdeen.

 


 

Festival-goers snap up contactless technology as Qpal launches, via: http://www.scotsman.com/news/festival-goers-snap-up-contactless-technology-as-qpal-launches-1-4175705 (Read 13/07/2016)

 

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Apple Pay is coming to the web – but there’s a catch

Apple Pay will soon be available on in browsers on macOS and iOS, but payments will still have to be authenticated on an iPhone.

Following months of rumours, Apple has confirmed it is launching Apple Pay on the web.

The feature was unveiled at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference and will let you pay for goods through Safari on macOS and iOS. Payments will still need to be authenticated using a fingerprint-enabled iPhone or the Apple Watch.

When customers are browsing on supported websites – such as Crate and Barrel and lululemon – an Apple Pay button will appear. It will work in a similar way to Apple Pay on apps.

Previously, to use Apple Pay iPhone users could store their card details into the contactless system and use NFC to tap and pay for goods in participating stores. Alternatively, they could use Apple Pay to buy items on selected iPhone apps.

Today’s announcement expands this to the web. People shopping on a website on a Mac, or via Safari on their phones, will get a notification on their iPhone to confirm the transaction, which this is done using TouchID.

 

Apple Pay will be limited to £20 until September, when payments up to £30 will be allowed

Apple Pay will be limited to £20 until September, when payments up to £30 will be allowed

This means users won’t have to manually enter credit card information on individual websites or store them online when buying goods because the payment – and security – is routed through the Apple Pay system.

The new features are due to start rolling out to the UK and US countries “soon” and WIRED has contacted Apple to get more information and details of supporting websites.

Apple Pay launched in the UK last year and brought the contactless payment system to stores including Boots, Costa, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Nando’s.

More than 250,000 shops across the UK now accept Apple Pay, with Transport for London also supporting the payment method on its network. The UK was the second country to get Apple Pay after the service launched in the USA in October 2014.

 


Woollaston, V. (2016) Apple pay is coming to the web – but there’s a catch. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/apple-pay-web (Accessed: 12 July 2016).

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WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage: new ways to pay

Want to save £1 every time you run a mile? How about a keyboard that lets you pay from WhatsApp?

What will be the next fintech breakthrough? On June 23, 16 startups from around the world gathered at the British Museum in London to pitch on the WIRED Money Startup Stage.

From blockchain to alternative lending and working in emerging markets, the startups had five minutes to pitch their ideas to our expert judges. On the panel, Marisol Menéndez Alvarez, open innovation manager at BBVA; Yann Kandelman, head of investment at Orange Digital Ventures and James Temperton, acting deputy editor of WIRED.co.uk.

These pitches are all focused on digital-only banks and new ways to pay.

Modern Lend

WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage winner

If you’re coming to the US to work or study, getting credit and loans can be tricky. Kobina Ansah, co-founder and CEO of ModernLend is trying to change that. His startup uses alternative data metrics to provide credit cards and loans to creditworthy international citizens shut out of the US system.

Traditional banks may decline borrowers who lack a US credit history, says Ansah. These people, hugely creditworthy in their home countries, are unable to borrow in the US as they lack a credit history or social security number. The startup is already working with the international student offices at the University of Pennsylvania and NYU and will launch its first card for international citizens this autumn.

Oval Money

Saving is a $35 trillion global market, but only 18 per cent of young adults save with a major financial institution. Benedetta Arese Lucini, co-founder and CEO of Oval Money, wants to make it more fun. The savings app uses MangoPay to create a digital wallet that lives on a user’s smartphone.

Oval Money gamifies saving using an ‘If This Then That’ model to tap into pretty much any API: run five miles? Save £1. Buy something from Amazon? Save five per cent of the total purchase. Oval Money can also use micro-transactions, making it easy to save tiny amounts regularly to build up a large pot.

PayKey

Herzliya, Israel-based PayKey wants to make it easy to pay for goods within any app. The idea is simple, Dario Mutabdzija, president and head of business development: a white-label keyboard for iOS that lets anyone transfer money to anyone else in an app. According to Mutabdzija, incumbent banking and payment apps aren’t contextual or “integrated into the daily lives of consumers”.

As PayKey is totally service agnostic, it can work anywhere, so users can pay within Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp – wherever.

Robin

If you’ve got kids, there’s a chance you already provide them with financial services – but you probably call it pocket money. Robin aims to “connect kids to the financial world through their parents in a safe way,” says Robin CEO Rogelio Valdés Garcia. The app, which links a wallet with a parent’s bank account, uses gamification to encourage responsible saving and money management.

When it launches Robin will charge £2 per month to use the service and hopes to partner with banks to move children onto real accounts when they are old enough.

 


Temperton, J. (2016) WIRED money 2016 startup stage: New ways to pay. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/wired-money-2016-startup-stage-digital-banks (Accessed: 11 July 2016).

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OT Enables Contactless Payment with Swatch in Switzerland

OT (Oberthur Technologies), a leading global provider of embedded security software products and services, announces a key partnership with Swatch, the renowned Swiss watchmaker and one of the world’s most popular brands, to provide contactless payment to customers in Switzerland.

They will be able to pay with speed, security and convenience, just waving their stylish Swatch Bellamy watch close to on contactless terminals – a great way to shop and save time.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160616005616/en/

As contactless POS terminals are now widespread in all kinds of locations (convenience stores, Quick Service Restaurants, vending machines, car parks, etc.), using such a wearable to pay becomes easy and really convenient for everyday purchases. Combining payment convenience with the style of a Swatch watch really enhances customers’ everyday experience.

OT’s FlyBuySE (Secure Element) is fully integrated within Swatch Bellamy watches and provides a high level of security while enabling seamless payments and transactions. OT’s latest portfolio covers a broad range of payment networks and applications (such as payment, security access, transport, etc) and can be embedded in many different types of wearables. With this partnership between Swatch and OT, Swatch Bellamy holders can perform fast contactless transactions with an innovative alternative to cash. Their watch remains as stylish as before, while embedding the latest payment technologies.

“At OT, we are delighted to work with such a renowned brand as Swatch to launch this innovative product. As contactless payment becomes widespread from an acceptance point of view, more end-users will be looking for such stylish wearables enabling them to pay in a quick, secure and convenient way” said Eric Duforest, Managing Director of the Financial Services Institutions business at OT.

Carlo Giordanetti, Creative Director, Swatch International, declared: “We are happy with the cooperation with the OT team in the Swatch Bellamy project. OT knows how to adapt its portfolio of products and solutions to the latest trends and it is the ideal partner to offer this innovative watch. We look forward to developing this relationship further, and to presenting Swatch Bellamy in more countries.”

“We are delighted to team up with OT and Swatch to provide a payment-enriched version of this emblematic Swiss time keeper to our customers. The Swatch Bellamy is an innovative and fashionable alternative to traditional payment cards. Due to the prepaid functionality, the funds can be easily loaded without any need of a bank account” said Alessandro Seralvo, Director Cornèrcard.

ABOUT OBERTHUR TECHNOLOGIES
OT is a world leader in embedded digital security that protects you when you connect, authenticate or pay.

OT is strategically positioned in high growth markets and offers embedded security software solutions for “end-point” devices as well as associated remote management solutions to a huge portfolio of international clients, including banks and financial institutions, mobile operators, authorities and governments, as well as manufacturers of connected objects and equipment.

OT employs over 6 500 employees worldwide, including almost 700 R&D people. With a global footprint of 4 regional secure manufacturing hubs and 39 secure service centers, OT’s international network serves clients in 169 countries. For more information: www.oberthur.com

 


(No Date) Available at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ot-enables-contactless-payment-swatch-114400627.html (Accessed: 4 July 2016).

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Pay your car licence – with your card!

Cape Town – The City is testing the use of card payment facilities at its motor vehicle registration office at the Civic Centre.

The use of card payment facilities will be for one week before the City expands this service to other motor vehicle registration facilities across Cape Town, such as the Promenade Mall, Milnerton, Khayelitsha and Plumstead.

On the first day of the pilot, more than 100 credit and debit card transactions were processed.

The city-wide roll out to motor vehicle registration offices is expected to take approximately two months. According to deputy mayor Ian Neilson, the expansion of card payment facilities for the payment of rates and tariff accounts and traffic fines will take a bit longer as system upgrades are required.

The City will accept payments of up to R5000 per transaction by credit or debit card, or any other means of payment which does not hold any cost implications.

“This amount covers most transactions by our clients,” Neilson said, “be it for motor vehicle licences, rates, services bills or other sundry payments. The City will, however, reclaim the relevant banking fee for any payment over R5000.”

As electronic payments carry the lowest bank charges, more than 60 percent of payments to the City are via this method.

“Our first day of testing went well and 103 card transactions to the value of approximately R45 000 were processed,” he added.

“The success of our online offerings, such as receiving municipal accounts by e-mail and the option of registering for the City’s e-services portal, allows for online payments of rates, tariffs and motor vehicle licence payments for clients,” said Neilson.

 


Kent claims 90% of waste handled in UK (2016) Available at: http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/kent-claims-90-of-waste-handled-in-uk/ (Accessed: 1 July 2016).
In-text citations:

  • (Kent claims 90% of waste handled in UK, 2016)
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How will the homeless survive in a cashless society?

In less than ten years time it is estimated that only one in four payments will made by cash.

Although it might feel to some like we have reached that point already, it will mark a dramatic shift from the current status quo when around half of all payments are made by notes or coins.

But while the shift to a cash free existence might feel like an inevitability, there are people on the fringes of society who are so reliant on it, that a life without it almost seems like an impossibility.

Yet, there is a growing awareness amongst the homeless and those that support them that action needs to be taken now so they are ready when the time comes.

For those with no fixed abode there are a huge array of different hurdles that need to be jumped in order for them live a life not wholly reliant on cash.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Two homeless men sleep near Trafalgar Square on January 27, 2016 in London, England. A group of 21 charities, including Crisis, St Mungos and Centrepoint, have called for extra effort by the next London Mayor to help end the growing problem of homelessness on Londons streets. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Only 1 in 4 payments will involve cash by 2025 (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Take setting up a bank account, for instance.

It seems tough enough when you have a permanent address, proof of other credit facilities and ID.

But when you don’t it becomes a whole lot harder.

And that is why charities like St Mungo’s and the Big Issue Foundation (the charitable arm of the Big Issue) are working hard to help as many people as possible gain access to the things we take for granted.

Around one in four of St Mungo’s clients dont have a bank account, many having only dealt with cash before.

(Picture: iZettle)

The Bis Issue is amongst those looking alternative payment methods (Picture: iZettle)

David Fisher, the charity’s executive director of services, said setting up bank accounts and other services, like phone contracts, can be difficult without a permanent address.

He added: ‘It’s important that people who may be homeless or vulnerable aren’t left behind when it comes to living in an ever evolving and innovative society.’

Paul McNamee, who is the editor of the Big Issue magazine, told metro.co.uk it is also working with its vendors to ensure they have the facilities they need.

‘We haven’t necessarily noticed a negative impact on our sales because of the move to cashless,’ he said.

‘But we know that’s going to come which is why this is something we are looking to get ahead of.’

He explained discussions are ongoing with banks to ensure people selling the Big Issue will be able to take both contactless and cash payments.

‘Because it’s essentially a cash environment our vendors work in, we’ve also had to consider how they will be able to cash up because they are leading lives that are pretty hand to mouth some of the time,’ he continued.

‘We are working with vendors to enable to them do those things. To help them get ID, whether that’s tracing back to help them get a National Insurance number, helping them getting ID or passports.’

(Picture: Simon Mott)

Simon Mott is the first Big issue vendor to take cashless payments in the country (Picture: Simon Mott)

The magazine has been trialling cashless methods of payment in a number of different locations across the country.

But there is one vendor, who pioneered the method off his own back and has been reaping the benefits ever since.

Simon Mott first invested in a chip and pin device through Swedish company iZettle a few years ago.

The 52-year-old, who sells the Big Issue outside South Kensington Tube station, spent £59 on the initial device but now takes around £500 a year in chip and pin, contactless and Apple Pay transactions.

‘I wouldn’t have seen that money if it wasn’t for the card reader,’ he told metro.co.uk.

(Picture: iZettle)

He estimates he takes around £500 a year in cash free transactions (Picture: iZettle)

He said the investment was a reaction to what he realised was a growing issue.

‘People say to me I’d like to buy the magazine but I don’t have money on me,’ he continued.

‘In the past it might have been a polite put down, when nowadays it’s actually true, they haven’t got any money or change.’

Simon said one noticeable difference about taking card payments, is that the money does not go in to his pocket instantaneously. And he thinks that’s a good thing.

‘You don’t have access to those funds immediately, it might be a couple of days  before it goes in to your bank account,’ Simon added.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Bedding belonging to a homeless person lies under a railway bridge on August 4, 2015 in London, England. Income inequality in the United Kingdom is higher than many other developed countries with a 2014 report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies claiming that around 23% of Britons were now in relative poverty. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

(Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images)

‘You don’t have the money to spend and waste it. It encourages the forethought of managing your money in a better way really

‘I think things are going to have to change.

‘This isn’t just from the Big Issue’s point of view but from that of other homeless people begging on the streets, if people don’t change then they are going to suffer as well.’

 


Meyjes, T. (2016) How will the homeless survive in a cashless society? Available at: http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/10/how-will-the-homeless-survive-in-a-cashless-society-5936662/ (Accessed: 29 June 2016).

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Never mind the contactless card, I will be paying by ear

Spending with contactless cards more than trebled last year to almost £8 billion. Experts predict that wearable payments will be the next big thing, with the technology incorporated into watches, earrings and clothes.

Henry Holland used the wearable technology in his London Fashion Week show last September. VIPs in the crowd were able to buy garments from the catwalk by touching a specially designed ring to a blue brooch that the models were wearing.

Contactless technology, which allows shoppers to buy without entering a PIN, has been in circulation since 2007 but adoption rates soared when the spending limit increased to £30.

Half of all credit and debit cards in circulation allow contactless payments, according to the UK Cards Association.

Analysts say that within five years millions of Britons will be paying via smartwatches, wristbands or key fobs with embedded microchips.

 


2016, T.N.L. (2016) Never mind the contactless card, I will be paying by ear. Available at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/never-mind-the-contactless-card-i-will-paying-by-ear-kgs7dcfvv (Accessed: 28 June 2016).

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Is your business prepared for the cashless economy?

The UK is on the fast track to being cash-free, but are our small and medium businesses ready?

The pounds in your pocket are destined for the museum display cabinets. This is according to new research by trade association, Payments UK, who predict that debit card and contactless payment use will overtake cash transactions by 2021 after finding that cash transactions accounted for less than half of consumer payments for the first time in 2015.

There’s no doubt that contactless technology has transformed consumer buying, and with Apple and Android Pay now available, it’s clear that the days of counting out coppers for a pint of milk and a Mars bar will soon be over.

Who has the least cash?

Citigroup and London’s Imperial College latest Digital Money Index indicates that the UK has begun to sprint ahead in the global race to becoming a cashless society after rising from 7th to 4th place in the list of countries that are most ‘digital ready’. Finland topped the list as the most digital-ready country for the third consecutive year, with Singapore and the US following behind in second and third place respectively.

Finland’s continued position as a digital leader is unsurprising considering their strong investment in digital infrastructure. Fixed broadband is available to 97 per cent of Finnish homes; this combined with affordability has helped Finland become one of the most tech savvy nations, with 91 per cent of the population being regular internet users. Furthermore, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Finland has one of the highest shares of eGovernment users and users of eHealth services in Europe. The Finnish government’s integration of digital and public services has further embedded digital processes into everyday life, meaning that digital payment is just another aspect of efficient modern living.

Contactless: the consumer’s choice

The rapid change in the UK’s payment habits can largely be attributed to big brands’ early adoption of contactless. In 2014 Tesco updated all 6,000 of their payment terminals in London to accept contactless payment, they announced that this would save 6 seconds for every customer that used it. For a consumer that is often time poor, 6 seconds less spent in a queue is 6 seconds less stress but more importantly for Tesco it speeds up customer service which enhances the customer experience.

However, contactless payment hasn’t always been hailed as a hero. Transport for London’s (TFL) announcement that its buses would go cashless in 2014 was initially met with scepticism. Nonetheless, since TFL has rolled out contactless across its network, more than 400 million journeys have been made using credit or debit cards or a mobile device, revealing that contactless is an option that offers consumers more, not less choice.
While Tesco and TFL helped lead the way in implementing wave and pay into our everyday lives, the increase in the contactless spend limit from £20 to £30 further pushed contactless mainstream by boosting retailer opportunities and encouraging a wider range of merchants to adapt their payment systems. In 2016, from petrol stations to pubs, consumers can go about their daily lives without having to enter their pin.
Contactless may have won London over first, but a recent study by Barclaycard found that contactless is growing fastest in Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. Furthermore, the study also revealed that the over 60’s, the group often deemed as ‘technophobes’, are the fastest growing adopters of contactless card payments. The popularity of contactless across generations offers further evidence that wave and pay is here to stay as more consumers look to utilise new technology that will allow them to make safer, more convenient payments.

Better for business

The swift infiltration of contactless into our everyday lives has certainly raised customer expectations of the pace and ease of service, meaning that businesses not offering customers the payment options they expect, risk undermining their reputation by appearing out of touch.
However, the new way to pay offers considerable benefits to businesses too. Sage Pay’s Payments Landscape Report 2015, found that annual cash handling costs, including allowance for fraud and theft, set UK retailers back more than £3,600 on average. By offering cashless payment options, businesses will benefit hugely from reduced cash handling costs. While digital payments are not completely free from fraud, the risk is significantly lower. Figures from the UK Cards Association show that in the first six months of 2015, fraudulent transactions were equivalent to only 2p for every £100 spent using contactless functionality.

In addition to speedier, safer transactions, digital payments also open up the possibility of integrated reward programmes and location-based marketing. Tapping into these smartphone capabilities will allow businesses to use customer data to deliver tailored marketing campaigns, enhancing customer experience and encouraging loyalty.

While the question of whether the UK will turn completely cashless remains debatable, there’s no doubt that paying for a latte with a quick swish of your wrist has become so commonplace that digging deep in your purse for cash feels like an archaic practice. Whether you’re a high street store, independent coffee shop or a local newsagent, consumers now expect to be able to pay with lightning speed. Cashless is coming, make sure you’re prepared.

 


Growth Business UK. 2016. Is your business prepared for the cashless economy?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/comment-and-analysis/2532811/is-your-business-prepared-for-the-cashless-economy.thtml. [Accessed 24 June 2016].