We're moving towards a cashless society

DOMINIC ROMANO
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014

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We are living at a time of exciting technology change that is rapidly changing the way we interact and transact with people as individuals, customers and in business.

We are already close to becoming a cashless society by the level and value of non-cash transactions (between 80 per cent to 95 per cent across Western countries).

The function of cash in a society says more about our country sovereignty and values ascribed to personal freedoms.

For this reason we can expect cash to stay as a payment option, although the level and frequency of cash transactions is in major decline for the vast majority of New Zealanders.

How we transact with one another to purchase goods and services has changed dramatically over the past 30 years with the advent of ATMs, eftpos, internet and now mobile banking.

Almost half of New Zealand now has a smartphone, 61 per cent a desktop PC, 66 per cent also have a laptop or notebook and nearly a third have a tablet or iPad.

As these figures continue increasing, it translates to a greater presence and familiarity with electronic transactions - such as online shopping, thereby avoiding the use of cash.

At the Bank of New Zealand, thanks to the increasing prevalence of digital and our customers' interaction with the online world, we have hundreds of thousands of new transactions every month that never used to exist.

That changes both the nature of our "traditional" customer and transforms New Zealand's retail landscape.

The latest trend of mobile technology for people to pay, get paid and better manage their finances is growing rapidly.

Late last year Vodafone, Visa and BNZ made the buying of goods with your phone a reality, using Vodafone SmartPass, a new mobile payments application that eliminates the need for cash and the cards in your wallet.

The app acts as a digital wallet and can replace the entire contents of a conventional wallet.

It appeals to people wanting to make fast and secure payments, collect loyalty points, use public transport or other services connected in the future by simply using a mobile phone.

The possible list of services and functionality is almost limitless, meaning consumers' power to choose is ever increasing.

One can quickly see this overtaking methods we are currently using such as eftpos cards, debit credit cards, paywave cards, and the like, as we go to our smart phone to promptly and securely make transactions.

While it is hard to predict the future, what we do know is that for those of us in business our interactions have to be about providing the right advice and service to help inform people in their purchasing decisions, and making the payment transaction itself as convenient as possible.

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Dominic Romano, senior partner with BNZ Partners in Blenheim

 

- The Marlborough Express

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