BreakingModern — Experts are predicting a big change in payment technologies in 2015, as consumers finally begin to rely less on traditional payment methods and more on digital currencies and mobile payments, i.e., micropayments. The emergence of peer-to-peer payments has already begun to shift the way banks interact with customers, but 2015 could be the year consumers finally end a longstanding reliance on cash and shift to transferring money using their mobile devices.
If you’re still struggling to figure out exactly what Bitcoin is, you aren’t alone. In fact, most people are perplexed. As this parody video points out, even the people who do understand it seem to have a difficult time explaining it to the layperson. Put in its most basic form, Bitcoin is simply the transfer of funds from one person to another without having to go through a financial institution.
How is this allowed? The answer is that for the most part the digital form of currency has flown under the radar. Federal regulators are starting to hone in on digital currencies like Bitcoin, however, out of concern that without a middleman, Bitcoins could be used for illegal activities like drug purchases. If 2015 is the year Bitcoin takes off, look for it to also be the year of new laws governing the use of digital currencies.
Starbucks is already revolutionizing micropayments by allowing users to pay with their smartphones. With the right apps, consumers can send money directly to friends or businesses without a trip to the ATM or even a swipe through a credit card reader. In an increasingly cashless society, it’s more important than ever to address the fact that cash still rules when it comes to small purchases. Younger generations have no problem whipping out their credit or debit cards for a two-dollar purchase, but older generations still recall the stigma that was once attached to paying for a small purchase using a credit card.
Payment app Venmo has even turned micropayments into a social media experience. Instead of pulling out cash to reimburse a friend for a purchase or pay for a haircut, a user can send the payment through Venmo. The payment is logged, with the amount excluded, turning that payment instance into an event. An update like “Lance paid Mark for concert tickets” creates a log of the action that can be reviewed at a later date with nostalgia.
The EMV Connection
Perhaps the biggest reason for disruption in 2015 will be the required conversion to EMV as a payment standard. Retailers will be forced to upgrade their point of sale (POS) environments by October 15 or accept liability for any fraudulent transactions that occur. In the process, many will be converting to systems capable of accepting NFC payments like Apple Pay.
It’s likely that micropayment’s disruption of the existing payment industry will gradual, and 2015 will be an important year in how it unravels. A major POS switch is underway and more mobile devices now come equipped with NFC technology, making it more likely than ever that retailers will accept new forms of payment. Both consumers and businesses should begin to embrace micropayments, since they promise to make life easier for everyone.
For BMod, I’m Stephanie Faris.
Featured Image/First Image: © ulchik74 / Dollar Photo Club
Second Image: © bloomua / Dollar Photo Club