Let’s talk about cash, the king!

Cash will inevitably lose the war against more agile mobile payment methods.

In the ancient Mesopotamia “cash” was first introduced as a receipt of dept when receiving grains from temple granaries. Later on, the handwritten notes were changed to valuable coins in the Roman empire and back again to notes in China in the 13th century. The word “cash” however originates from the French language and the word caisse (meaning a money box) became popular in the 18th century which originates from Italian Cassa which off course originates from Latin word capsa meaning a box. The cash has lived a long and prosperous life to our days and it’s now truly challenged by digital forms of “cash” for the first time in history.

But cash just works!

Cash has its advantages, that is unquestionable. Cash is anonymous, it’s concrete, it’s reliable, and it’s well accepted. However, the new digital payment methods have started to challenge the advantages of cash lately and the war is on. The biggest arguments against cash are usually: easy to steal, expensive to handle for the merchants, consumers need to plan how much to carry with them and the newest major issue what the current situation has brought to our attentions: it’s not very hygienic!

Consumers are the ones to decide

Digital payment methods such as mobile payments have been taking over the market in a boom and consumers have adopted the method faster than any other payment method in the history. NFC (near field communication) dates back almost 40 years but introducing this method to card and phone payments is fairly new way of conducting transactions. Another way of doing transactions is conducting the transaction in the user’s phone, when the transaction is sent to the merchant’s POS-system directly, such payments methods can be either done in the cloud or using phone’s Bluetooth or other transmission methods. Nevertheless, there is no single winner in this competition (yet at least), but a huge variety of methods which consumers have adopted, and merchants are struggling to satisfy.

Do we have a winner?

Well how about this idea? The merchant launches an app of its own and combines the variety of payment methods inside the app. Then the merchant doesn’t have to worry about the dozens of transmission devices at the counter and the methods can be combined into one. And if the environment is hard for mobile payments (such as a pool bar), the app can be connected to an NFC wristband and the chip of the band can be used as an extension of the app where consumer can choose the payment method freely. In my mind this would tackle the arguments of cash being the king and at the same time giving the users the freedom to choose the payment method that they are accustomed to. One often heard argument is also that parents like to share some money to the kids and cash is the easiest way of doing so. Well, if the cash is shared to kids´ phone by the parent, then the parent can also monitor how the money was spent and even give restrictions that the money can only be spent to lunch and not to candy. And since the app is owned by the merchant, the data collected from the transactional behavior is now further used to enhance the customer loyalty. I suppose, we have a winner!

Author: Mr Atte Kniivilä, CRO, Yonoton