More from the Pew Internet survey: the future of money (3)

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(Please see the 2 previous posts in this series for the setup: multitasking teens + higher ed.)

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III. The future of money: What IS your “wallet”?

[option #1 – my pick] By 2020, most people will have embraced and fully adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases they make, nearly eliminating the need for cash or credit cards. People will come to trust and rely on personal hardware and software for handling monetary transactions over the Internet and in stores. Cash and credit cards will have mostly disappeared from many of the transactions that occur in advanced countries.  People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital-all-the-time format.

[option #2] By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits. Cash and credit cards will still be the dominant method of carrying out transactions in advanced countries.

PLEASE ELABORATE: What is the future of money? Explain your choice and share your view of any implications for the future. What are the positives, negatives, and shades of grey in the likely future you anticipate?

My elaboration…

Smart devices will make cash and credit cards unusual by 2020 – but not because end-users will be clamoring for them. Instead, technology developers will push hard to convince both business and consumer audiences that NFC devices and the like are the wave of the future, not to be missed. For their part, financial institutions will embrace new payment methods, as they find new ways to charge for these products and new ways to save money handling transactions.

Neither security nor privacy issues will do much to hold back progress in this sector. Vendors and banks will give all the usual assurances. Early adopters will take these assurances with a grain of salt, knowing that many current transactional platforms, like bank websites and ATMs, are never entirely secure (not least because social engineering has overtaken malware as a primary risk factor).

Later adopters may read or hear about the risks in these new technologies. However, members of this group are protected by their lack of awareness and inability to understand exactly what the risk-benefit ratios are. Most will welcome whatever convenience the new devices offer, understanding there’s always a price to pay for convenience. A decade ago, e-commerce had a lot to prove in terms of security and reliability; nowadays typing a credit card number into a website is like using it at the checkout counter. Progress continues.

As for privacy, this strikes me as the least of the industry’s worries. Privacy to the mainstream is either a mystery, a nuisance or a chit to be traded for some benefit. Even among well-educated, sophisticated adults, privacy in the digital realm is a distant abstraction. Most consumers will understand the benefits to them of something they can see and hold, before they will understand the risks associated with cookies and other intrusive technologies.

D.E.

One thought on “More from the Pew Internet survey: the future of money (3)

  1. Pingback: The loyalty device race takes to public transport « Near Field Communication (NFC) / Smart mCommerce

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