30 Jan 2017 12:13 PM

A strange thing has happened to me. Without realising it, I have become part of the cashless generation. I'd only noticed it last week in a coffee shop. They’d had a broadband fault and so the till system wasn’t working. It was like moving back to the dark ages. I watched as the news was broken to each customer and they had to make a choice:

1. Visit the cash machine down the road
2. Forgo that morning’s caffeine hit
3. Head off to the competitor down the road.

Luckily being a staunch northerner by birth right and wary of letting technology take control of all of my money, I was one of the lucky ones to have some cash on me. But as I handed over my ten pound note I realised it had been in my wallet for weeks. I like to have some cash on me ‘in case of emergencies’, but I am now at a point where I only use it in emergencies. This qualified.

I activated the contactless payment option on my bank’s app about 6 months ago, more as a novelty rather than anything else. Then slowly, what used to be used once a fortnight has now turned into my primary method of payment. I now use phone-based payments for 90% of transactions. It’s not something I consciously moved to, I just migrated to it over time because it was easy.

This ease of use and speed of payment is also of great benefit to retailers. If a transaction can be completed faster, then this can increase foot fall in store which should translate to improved customer satisfaction and increased sales. Research produced by BI Intelligence in 2016 showed that analysts expect in-store mobile payment volume to grow from $75 billion in 2016 to $500 billion by 2020.

Now we just have to hope that the broadband stays on long enough.

I'll always have a tenner in my wallet...... just in case.