Why business should celebrate the coming cashless society

Monday, August 28, 2017 11:12 am EDT


Justin Levitte, SVP, Head of Integrated Payments - North America, Elavon

There has been much talk recently about cashless society and trends in payments leading to the demise of cash itself. Think about a hungry mom who doesn’t feel like cooking tonight, opens her UberEATS app, selects a couple of dishes from a local restaurant and receives them at her family’s door less than an hour later.

That same evening, a driver is putting air in his tires but has no coins to start the pump; luckily he finds that all he needs to do is pay the $1 charge with a contactless tap of his debit card. Then he heads to a parking lot, where he inserts his credit card into a machine to receive a ticket.

What do these situations have in common? Yes, they are all examples of modern technology aiding consumer convenience. But more specifically, all three are transactions that demonstrate the advance of the cashless society.

Cashless transactions are on the rise

Talk of the “cashless society” may seem like science fiction to some, but it’s coming sooner than you think. Many airlines no longer accept cash on board their planes, for example; and vending machines are accepting cards even for transactions that cost little more than spare change. Then there’s toll roads, for decades an inconvenient occasion to search for spare coins and dollar bills while breathing in toll booth fumes; due to transponders and plate-recognition cameras, it’s become a transformed experience in which cash no longer has little to any business playing a part.

As such technologies proliferate, U.S.-based organization the Demand Institute forecasts that much of the projected $10-trillion global increase in consumer spending in the next decade will be driven by the growth in cashless transactions.

It’s not hard to see why cashless payments are in the ascendency. Payment technology has advanced to such an extent that the upsides are huge for both customers and merchants.

Our opening examples showed how the speed, variety and convenience of non-cash transactions are transforming the user experience. And for businesses, that presents great opportunities to engage with customers in exciting new ways.Take UberEATS, for example; that simple capability to order and pay in seconds with a mobile app – eliminating the need to phone in an order or enter one’s credit card online – is driving customer behavior and adding valuable revenue to local eateries.

Going ‘cashless’ has its advantages

The cashless society will bring other advantages to merchants of all sizes. Whether you’re a tiny corner store or a large restaurant chain, tallying your cash at the end of shifts is complicated and tiresome, and ferrying large amounts of cash to deposit at the bank is always a security risk. Then there’s the leakage from losses due to transaction errors or dishonest employees. In addition, there is the potential upsize of profits and increased revenue. Think of the local charity that now takes credit card payments for donations. Those donations likely only existed, or at a minimum likely increased because of the ability to use a card, in lieu of cash on hand or sending in a check. 

Elavon’s flexible partnership model

The more you can eliminate cash from your sales, the easier your accounting tasks become, especially with integrated payment tools provided by Elavon. At Elavon, we understand there’s no one-size fits all approach to meeting the today’s payment needs. Our global solutions allow us to work with developers and partners to customize a solution from eCommerce, mobile, in-person and mail-order/telephone-order. This omnicommerce approach means we’ve designed our partner program with a variety of certification, business and partnership levels so that you can tailor the program that works best for you. We reduce the complexity in delivering secure payment connectivity, saving you development time and costs by delivering a true end-to-end solution. Our partnership model is designed to maximize your business opportunities by offering turn-key solutions with robust security and payment options including utilizing encryption, tokenization, EMV and the latest NFC capability such as ApplePay.

Security isn’t an issue

Given all the myriad boosts that cash-free payments give to merchants’ bottom lines, it’s perhaps surprising to see the U.S. trail Canada and many Asian and European countries by as much as five years in adopting key technologies. The most prominent enabler of cashless payments – the contactless transaction – is becoming ubiquitous at most points of sale in these societies, while in the U.S., many businesses are still only beginning to get on board with chip and pin technology (which, while convenient, is still slower than a simple tap of a debit card or Apple Pay-enabled phone).

Resistance to change and suspicion that such transactions are not secure may be behind the foot-dragging, but the fact is, state-of-the-art encryption deployed by companies like Elavon makes contactless payments as watertight as any other.

Even though the U.S. has some catching up to do, the positive news is that the potential for the cashless society to transform and grow its economy is enormous. It’s not a question of if, but when. Cash may never completely die, but its gradual demise is in many ways a cause for celebration. For more about Elavon and our global solutions, please visit www.elavon.com.

Elavon’s Media Contact:

Cara Crifasi 
Corporate Communications 
+1 303-268-2412  

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