If a cashless economy sounds somehow futuristic, it's really nothing new. With payment services providers springing up to handle the logistics, making digital transactions is easier than ever. Cold, hard cash is becoming a thing of the past without us even noticing.
Mobile devices are aiding buying decisions even when the customer shops in person. According to Pew Research, 45 percent of Americans have used their smartphones to look up product information or run a price comparison, even while they're standing in a brick and mortar store. Of course, that's on the rare occasion that a customer actually goes to a physical retail outlet, since they can just make a purchase from their mobile.
It costs six cents to make a nickel now. I wasn't an Economics major but that doesn't seem sustainable.
That same Pew Research study found that 79 percent of Americans are now frequent online shoppers. Using cashless transactions to supply their homes, stuff their stockings, and even stock their kitchens. If you want to position your business at the frontier of a paperless payment, enlisting a payment services provider to handle your transactions is a smart move. And there are plenty of good reasons to do so.
POS, online and mobile payments are not only faster and more convenient, even the die hard paper check writers are beginning to prefer the ability to make payments with a couple of clicks. Combining payment cards and wireless technology, financial technology companies like Paypal, Stripe and Wirecard are connecting the world of international payment networks.
Wirecard, Europe's second largest payment processor added a shipping tool yesterday that will drastically improve the online shopping process. As any market grows and matures there are always hangups. Shipping, returns and speeding up that process have been a focus for many online retailers.
Shipping and returns had the same efficiency as entering in every letter for a YouTube video on your Smart TV.
Cashless makes a lot of sense when it comes to current minor inconveniences. No fumbling with the safe in the back office, or trips to the bank with that zipper envelope, double checking your math with a pocket calculator after closing up shop. The customer pays, you get paid, and your financial services provider sends you the data. It's simply easier for everyone all round.
More importantly, it's global. Instead of going through the laborious currency exchange process (the bane of any company in the tourist industry), your financial services provider can take care of the hassle.
It might sound complex, but the experience is seamless. Instead of worrying about international cash conversions, you just log into your dashboard and keep up to speed on the payments coming through. If you run an online businesses, companies like Stripe and Authorize.net will help you mitigate risk and safely accept online transactions. It's worth checking into the right payments provider for you, as many focus on different market niches. Make sure that risk management and fraud prevention are included in the service.
It may come as a surprise that ditching cash will actually save you money as well. This is especially true for consumers, who pay around $8 billion annually in non-home ATM fees alone. So it's better for the consumer to switch to card or digital payments, and what's better for the consumer is better for you. Encouraging cashless transactions is a service.
From the seller's end, switching to card, online and mobile payments makes your transactions more transparent. In fact, it supplies you with a mountain of data that will tell you everything you need to know about buying trends, customer demographics, peak hours, and whatever else you need to optimize your sales targeting. Where cash leaves you to wonder, digital payment tells all. And all that information is power.
The common narrative is that cash is king, and nothing is more secure. But that narrative may in fact be myth. There is a growing body of evidence that ecommerce is more secure than conventional payment methods. In short, ecommerce stores are new, so they consequently have the newest and most secure technology at work.
Yesterday's big box stores are usually still outfitted with Windows computers and POS technology from 40 years ago, making them vulnerable to hacking. And cash? Well, cash can be stolen, damaged, misplaced, or it can just burn a hole in your pocket. And when it's gone, there's little or no record. There's really nothing less secure than cash.
If cashless and especially online transactions are faster, cheaper, globally accepted, more transparent and secure, why are we still using cash? Perhaps it's retro chic. Or perhaps your company can get ahead of the curve while the rest of the world catches up. Aligning with a secure, third party payments provider to handle transactions isn't just a strong, forward thinking maneuver -- it will save you a lot of work as well. All while mitigating risk, providing a smoother customer experience and onboarding new business.