Technology is developing as such fast pace, particularly in recent years, and our lives are transforming with it; changing the way in which we interact in our everyday lives. From accessing a wealth of information with just your phone to tapping our debit card on the contactless reader instead of handing over physical money, technology features more heavily in our lives than we often realise.
A particular area that has risen in growth, recently in particular, is the concept of digital payments and currency. We are all used to having physical cash in our hands, and seeing the numbers in our bank account rise and fall, but now a reasonable number of us do not withdraw money from a cash point at all – instead choosing to pay via a contactless method or simply just online.
From Contactless to Apple Pay
Having the ability to visit a coffee shop, swipe your smartphone against a machine and walk out with your beverage having paid is an interesting and useful concept, but one that many will no doubt take a while to get their head around. Whilst it is a great idea that you no longer need to carry your cards around with you and can instead have them all stored on your mobile device, which you will inevitably always have on your anyway, there is an aspect of training or education required in order to encourage the use of such technology.
With people having grown so used to trading physical cash for goods for so many years, making the adjustment to making payment digitally is quite a big step and no more than for the older generation that have not grown up immersed in such innovation and technology.
Naturally there are the security concerns that come with any aspect of digital technology, and these will be a hindrance to virtual payment methods for time to come. Not necessarily due to flaws or bugs in the systems themselves, but simply because some people just do not trust what they can’t touch. £10 in your hands is tangible, but digitally it is just figures on a screen.
Bitcoins and Digital Currency
The media frequently has coverage on the topic of Bitcoins, from their fluctuation in value to the investigation in to who actually created them originally. Whilst the step towards a digital currency seems only natural in an age so led by technology, is it really the way of the future?
Bitcoins are a leading of example of why a digital currency may not necessarily work, despite its popularity. The large fluctuation in its value mean that it can go from being worth hundreds of pounds to near nothing – and this just isn’t investable in the long run.
With its involvement in the dark web and also its ability to be used in money laundering, there is a negative side to a digital currency that has no specific host country and therefore no territorial rulings. Something that can change hands so freely and easily, across the internet and sometimes without a trace will inevitably always fall in to the wrong hands and therein lays a major issue.
There is no doubt that digital payment methods are the future, particularly with an increasing number ways to process payment this way. However it is as the younger, technology friendly generation grow and develop that this will become the norm – so traditional chip and pin payment is safe for some time to come yet.
Digital Currency? The vote is still out on that one. Whilst there is no avoiding the popularity and growth, along with the decline, of Bitcoins – there are just too many underlying issues with virtual currency that means it won’t enter the mainstream any time soon.
Who knows, in 20 years’ time our bank account could be attached to our fingerprint – allowing us to make payments with just one touch.