The days of a fat leather wallet stuffed into your back pocket or in your purse are over. We are becoming a streamlined fiscal society which may soon only rely on a single device to replace billfolds and paper money.
It is the post-wallet economy that now only requires a button push, a swipe or a vocal command to purchase what we want, when we want it. It’s been creeping up on us for years with cyber shopping and swift debit card purchases depicting the counting cash consumer as an annoying dinosaur.
Today it is the battle between cryptocurrency and mobile payment that is making cashiers more like digital engineers. Yet, for a small business to have such a streamlined setup it can make all the difference between turning around happy customers in a flash or having long lines of impatient, future, former consumers.
Using your cell phone for practically everything you do has slowly become the norm. Mobile pay is simply the ability to use your device to purchase an item which directly charges your choice of payment, such as your bank or credit card. With mobile pay, the ability to quickly consume is making our digital Wild West that much more rapidly expedited.
Mobile pay is currently the leader in our post-wallet economy with almost 13 billion US dollars spent via these transactions in 2012. Apple Pay leads the way with its ‘tokenization’ technology. This system uses a new digital token for every transaction and never passes sensitive information to the point-of-sale purchase making it difficult to steal.
Google and Amazon pay are in close second. An overall estimate sits at over 100 million mobile pay users across the board by 2016.
One of the downsides of mobile payment is that it uses NFC (near-field communication) technology. This basically means that the user needs to be within a certain range of the cashier device for mobile payment to work. This is good technology however hackers are now trolling mobile payment users with pocket size machines that also use NFC and are capable of grabbing a user’s info/finances. It is recommended to be aware of your surroundings when using mobile pay.
This may sound more like sci-fi currency than your typical everyday transaction and in a way it is. Cryptocurrency first emerged in 2009 as Bitcoins. Through an anonymous inventor(s) who still use the alias ‘Satoshi Nakamoto,’ Bitcoins have had a roller coaster ride of use and exposure. Since this inception cryptocurrency has spun into several choices now known as ‘Altcoins’ with the current top contenders being, Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and Peer Coin.
This type of payment revolves around electrically converted lines of code that are not attached to any centralized banking institution making it pure digital currency. Therefore, governments cannot control the value of cryptocurrency making the manipulation of inflation and deflation a thing of the past. Instead, this digital currency or at least Bitcoin, regulates itself by setting up a ‘cap’ with no more than 21 million coins in circulation at any given time.
Since Bitcoins platform was created its competitors have altered many cryptocurrency options. For instance, there are ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) machines that regular people called ‘crypto-miners’ purchase to participate in the validation and processing of transactions for pay. This, in essence, may be the creation of a possible new work force in the making.
However, other platforms are working with a system called Scrypt which allows users to mine for coins without an ASIC machine. Scrypt has since expanded into Scrypt-N and X11. Altcoins are also now being printed into hard copy notes that contain each coins codes for faster access and tangible storage.
Although cryptocurrency is becoming popular, it hasn’t yet gone completely mainstream, especially when it comes to a small business platform. However, it is expected to eventually surpass mobile payment but probably not for several years. Regardless, if applicable, there is some current information for small business cryptocurrency integration.
The downsides to using cryptocurrency include:
- Lack of financial institution oversight and protection
- Fluctuating value
- High fraud opportunities
- Need for high tech use knowledge
Overall, it looks like mobile payment will continue to expand even though only 54 million people performed mobile money transactions in 2013, however it is rising exponentially. Be prepared for our post-wallet economy to continue its lightning speed drive toward a society where paper money may become so 2020.
For more information on mobile payment and cryptocurrency, please see the infographic below:
Source – https://s3.amazonaws.com/qrst/PostWalletEconomy.png
Images: ”Woman paying with NFC technology on mobile phone, restaurant, cafe, bar/Shutterstock.com“
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