If you’d told people 75 years ago that credit and debit cards would largely replace paper currency, they probably would have thought you were nuts. If you’d told people 50 years ago that by 2018 we’d be discussing the end of pennies, they probably would have simply asked why.
And if you tell people today that soon they won’t even need to carry cards around because payments will soon be digital, many are only just beginning to come around to the idea – even though it’s almost certainly a correct one.
The point is, the ways in which we pay for goods and services change over time, and with modern technology this can happen quickly, and in multiple ways at once. This makes it well worth looking into the near future and considering some of the “new” ways in which we’ll commonly be paying for things.
1. In-Person Mobile Payments
Already today there are numerous ways in which you can use your mobile phone to pay for things in person. You can use a specific app, such as the extraordinarily widely used Starbucks app, or you can use a service like Apple Pay, wherever it’s available.
So this isn’t the most creative prediction, nor the boldest. Still, it’s worth noting that this type of payment is undoubtedly going to get more common moving forward. The concept will be ubiquitous within a few years.
2. Text Messages
We can already essentially pay one another via text – if not directly then through various apps and services. But in all likelihood, when Facebook introduced payments in Messenger, it started something that we have yet to see finished.
That is to say, Facebook got the ball rolling toward a reality in which we’ll simply be able to text money to one another, not through Venmo or the Cash App, but in our actual text messages.
We can’t say exactly what this will look like, but it could legitimately be as simple as texting your friend the amount “$10” and having it transferred instantly.
3. Payment Processors
Here again we have a concept that already exists and which has actually been widespread for years, but which we see as being on the cusp of even broader use.
As people become more aware of the various risks involved with digital financial transactions, they’re also going to become more reluctant to input credit card information directly on websites and apps.
Thus, the need for services like PayPal, which protect that information and facilitate payments, is likely going to go up. For this reason we should probably expect to see even more apps and websites allowing for this type of payment moving forward.
4. Pay By Bill
Pay by bill is an interesting concept that’s in use already, though on a somewhat limited basis. It’s most notably applied to casino gaming, which is actually at the forefront of a few interesting payment concepts, and where a ton of money is exchanged every day.
The idea is basically that players can use their phones for payment but don’t have to use a credit card or payment source. Deposits are simply added to phone bills, such that no information has to be exchanged – it’s all just paid when you’d be making a monthly phone bill payment anyway. This is absolutely a concept that can and may well be more broadly applied.
The idea of paying via cryptocurrency still weirds some people out, and understandably so. Cryptocurrency can be a difficult concept to grasp, and owning and handling it is far from second nature to most of us.
That said, using crypto as functional currency effectively addresses the same concerns we mentioned when discussing payment processors. It saves users from having to input personal financial information, and can make digital transactions feel safer.
Because of this, more people will likely be using cryptocurrency in short time, even if it never becomes a mainstream currency alternative.