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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 November, 2017

5 tech trends set to shape the way we pay in future

You could soon be purchasing coffee via a chip in your hand.

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IF YOU HAD TO guess, what percentage of the world’s money would you say is in physical cold-hard-cash form? Half, maybe? A third? Not quite.

Economists estimate that just 8% of the money used around the globe is made of notes and coins – and that percentage is set to drop even further as more countries get closer to becoming cashless societies.

In Sweden for instance, cash circulation has plummeted so much that banks halted circulation of the country’s highest denomination note. In 2014 only a fifth of transactions there were in cash, with card-only payments enforced on public transport.

All across the world’s developed countries, spenders are skipping cash and finding alternate ways to pay. Here’s a look at five of those ways…

1. Cryptocurrency

shutterstock_540755671 Source: Shutterstock/GeniusKp

Little over three years ago, Krüst Bakery became the first bakery in Dublin to accept Bitcoin (the world’s first decentralised digital currency) and not long after, nearby cafe Busyfeet & Coco followed suit, even opening a Bitcoin ATM on the premises.

Although most cryptocurrency (digital currency regulated by encryption) users opt for Bitcoin, there are other similar products out there. One of the most notable is Ethereum‘s Ether, mainly aimed at users of online retail platforms.

2. Mobile wallets

mia-baker-322592 Source: Unsplash/Mia Baker

Are you a customer of Ulster Bank, KBC or AIB? Thanks to Apple Pay, you can pay for items and services from your current account simply by swiping your iPhone over a card reader – handy for when you’re out without your wallet. If you don’t own an iPhone, not to worry, there’s also Android Pay.

3. Biometric payment

ChipMan2 Source: YouTube

While researching an article for BuzzFeed about the future of payment, news reporter Charlie Warzel travelled to Sweden to have a chip inserted in his hand enabling him to pay for his dinner with a simple wave.

It’s not just hand chips, though – there’s also fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. Digital market research company Juniper Research estimates that there will be 770 million biometric authentication apps downloaded annually by 2019.

4. Banking automation

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Over the last number of years, person-to-person services across a number of banks have been closed down, with the removal of counter services causing controversy in some cases. Currently, Bank of Ireland has plans to go cashless in 100 locations around Ireland, with Ulster Bank launching five cash free branches in June alone.

Reckon you’d miss the comfort of conversation? In the US, companies like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Mastercard and American Express have gone one better, using ChatBots to give saving tips, act as an assistant and provide real-time sales notifications.

5. Social payment apps

jacob-ufkes-195221 (1) Source: Unsplash

Fed up always having to foot the dinner bill for your cashless friend? Social payment apps like Venmo, Snapcash (the person-to-person payment version of its infamous image-sharing brother) and Circle are trying to change that. In one month of 2016 alone, Venmo reported transferring $1 billion.

It doesn’t end with payment apps, though. Last autumn, Facebook acquired an e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland meaning the social media giant could soon offer payment services of its own.

The world of financial technology is always evolving, so make sure your skills are up to date. National College of Ireland offers a part-time MSc in Fintech, providing the skills you need in a time that suits you best. They are also offering a free Higher Diploma in Fintech to all applicants who meet the entry requirements. Check out their part-time and postgraduate courses here.

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