Cash has been on the decline for some time now. With online retail becoming more prevalent, land-based stores have found themselves needing to find solutions that are just as convenient as a system that stores payment information for checkouts in mere seconds.
It’s because of this that only 1.1 million people mainly used cash for day-to-day shopping in 2021. Still, it’s not the only modern payment trend that continues to shock providers and businesses alike. There’s been a sharp rise in not only more convenient payment options but also cost-reducing ones.
With credit cards adjusting to make for more cost-effective and convenient ways of making payments, stores have needed to follow suit. As London is such a transactions powerhouse in the UK, we can already see some big payment trends taking off in the British capital.
Ditching the checkouts altogether
In what looks to be the largest step in going cashless, several big-name brands have propped up shops in and around London that don’t even require you to flash your debit card. The checkout-free store looks to be gaining traction around the capital, with Tesco’s GetGo, Sainsbury’s, and now even Aldi joining the fold.
In addition, Morrisons is reportedly testing how they can implement the technology that would support a new, more innovative way of shopping. To use the stores, customers need to download an app, register their payment details, and use the facial-age estimation technology in the app to confirm their ages should they want to purchase age-restricted items. Once in the store, advanced cameras track customers to take a tally of the items that they take.
Contactless is becoming king in London
Contactless comes in two key forms now: credit and debit cards with contactless, and mobile payments that use NFC technology in smartphones. From the start to the end of 2020, the number of mobile payments registrations rocketed by over 75 per cent. One of the reasons for this is said to be the perceived security measures that come with mobile payment apps.
In 2021, 58 per cent of all card payments were done so via contactless means. With there being built-in limits on cost caps for when you can use contactless payment, it could be inferred that the number would be even higher if contactless could be used for all in-store purchases. Quite simply, all forms of contactless payments are very popular, and all shops in London should have a way of accepting this form of payment by now.
The curious case of cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin was invented as a peer-to-peer payment system devoid of the troubles of fiat currencies, but in the real world, it and its cryptocurrency kin have been manipulated into investment vehicles and stores of value. It has made it difficult to use as a payment method daily, but some businesses accept crypto around London. If the issues of transaction speed smooth over and adoption continue to increase, though, accepting the likes of Bitcoin could certainly win over some customers.
However, this is likely to be placed lower on the demands list of customers with the prices of just about everything on the rise. Customers are going to be less inclined to adopt volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and risk a slide and more likely to seek traditional banks during the rising cost of living that both offer the services expected of a stable, trusted institution as well as extras that can help manage finances.
Some banking services have stepped up to the challenge, introducing new options and features that help in the current environment. Tools that look at how the base rate of the Bank of England affects you as well as benefit calculators that show how much you can claim from the government all help to bring people more towards these more accommodating, more traditional services rather than trying a new payment and banking format.
While credit cards transform themselves to make things easier for borrowers, stores across London should take note of the potential of checkout-less technology, the contactless craze, and the potential of crypto payments. The change isn’t coming as break-neck-fast as it seemed at the start of 2022, but the dawn of crypto as a payment method does seem to be on the horizon.