Take a minute and think about the last few purchases you made. How many of them were paid for with a credit card or cash? By 2020, we'll all be reaching for a third option, a survey of experts is saying, using our phones by default. Are you willing to leave paper and plastic behind?
As the likes of Near Field Communication payment systems and app-to-register purchases become more popular, the death of physical currency is pretty much assured at some point, but 65% of experts polled said it'd happen as swiftly as within eight years.
The study, conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project, didn't pull from a random sampling, as reported by Mashable's Samantha Murphy:
The study was conducted among a non-random sample of 1,021 technology stakeholders and critics in the mobile payments industry, from executives and Google and Microsoft to professors at distinguished universities nationwide.
That's a lot of brain power, and as stated 65% agreed with the following:
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.
The dissenting 33% (leaving an undecided sliver) said that worries over privacy and the fragmented landscape of today's digital payment systems make 2020 an optimistic target. For others, it was the size of the payment that mattered, with a respondent saying, "I'm happy to buy my $2 Starbucks using my Android but I don't know that we will ever feel secure enough to make much larger purchases that way."
So, the experts have weighed in, now how about you? I imagine a lot of us haven't waited until 2020 to go digital. That said, this study is talking less about digital on the whole (sitting at your computer and buying something off Amazon, for instance), and more about the power of the smartphone to make that kind of transaction mobile.