I remember the times as a child or even teenager, when I was looking at each coin’s back to make sure it had not yet been part of my collection. The change and development currencies underlie make collecting coins an interesting hobby.
However, having attended an interesting event, sponsored from Advantage Austria hosting experts in the cashless sector from Denmark and Sweden, I was honestly listening to the presentations with admiration but also with a sad eye. The developments in the Northern countries make me wonder if my childhood hobby will soon become impossible.
Norway, Sweden and Denmark are the leading countries in Europe in terms of eliminating their cash and focusing on co-opetition between banks and third party providers to allow synergies to offer customers the best possible outcome. Consumers focus on convenience, governments on efficiency and businesses on profits, so the challenge is to satisfy each of the stakeholders involved in the rapid development regarding payment.
International competition challenges local banks. Undoubtedly, banks have to reconsider their traditional business model and should not look at third party providers as threats, but rather as opportunities to build up a new form of payment together. Denmark, for example, can be taken as a role model here. The innovative company called “Spiir” is a successful intermediate between banks and third party providers. It makes it easier for both sides to collaborate and facilitate transactions. Furthermore, being cashless in Sweden is no illusion anymore. Experts say that by 2025 half of all retailers will not accept cash anymore.
But enough about businesses, banks and third party providers. Which impact does this development have on each one of us? How will our lives change?
Have you ever heard about the application “WeChat”? This Chinese App can be seen as the equivalent to the Western „WhatsApp”. Nevertheless, it shows some differences and superior features, as an extra payment function that allows consumers, vendors, organizations using it to connect and send money between the various contacts. Using this application allows them to pay with their mobile phones anytime and anywhere without the need of using an additional card or even cash. Welcome to the world of the digital wallet.
So, with your phone being able to make all possible transactions in supermarkets and other shops, your pockets or bags will get lighter. That does sound great, doesn’t it? But what impact does this development have on other business forms or services? How will it change our daily lives? It is true that we are in the middle of a revolutionary transmission? This change should not make us forget that security and the personal connections will still matter in future and should be considered in the process of digitalization.