Could smartphone payments spell the end of cash?

Where would the majority of us be without our gadgets? iPhones, tablet computers, laptops: technology is developing at a rapid rate, and having a big impact on our lives and habits along with it.

The Daily Mail recently reported that new developments in smartphone technology could signal the end of cash payments – and even change the face of banking as we currently know it.

The increasing popularity of ‘Quick Tap’ technology is already changing the way people can pay for goods and services, and could see wallets and purses become things of the past. Quick Tap technology is basically a new system available to smartphone users which allows them to make payments by swiping their smartphone handset across terminals at store tills.

What’s more, research by PayPal, involving retailers including Asda, Waitrose and Pizza Express, has indicated that Quick Tap technology will soon be available to anyone with a smartphone. Carl Scheible, PayPal UK’s managing director, commented: “We’ll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things. By 2016, you’ll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as the 21st century digital wallet.”

Around 49% of mobile phone owners already make purchases from their handsets, particularly when it comes to buying software such as ‘apps’, music and games. However, it’s not just shopping that could undergo big developments due to the technology. Banking could also change too.

Handsets could soon work like debit and credit cards, linked directly to the user’s bank account, so users could make payments as easily as if they were paying ‘on plastic’. Alongside making payments, smartphone technology could also enable customers to receive ‘real-time’ updates on their current account – making it easier to keep track of their balance – and even use their handset to store loyalty card points.