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UK set to become cashless society as three quarters of Brits ditch cash for card

As the move to a cashless society becomes more than a hard hitting reality, the question you need to ask yourself is, is my small business ready?

E-wallets, debit cards, credit cards, bank transfers… The world of digital payment processes is vast, and moving so fast that humble copper just can’t keep up.

In fact, according to recent research by online marketplace OnBuy.com, 75% of people in the UK choose not to pay with cash, meaning that it’s never been more important for small businesses to accept card payments.

People are putting their notes away to pay with their phone, debit or credit card. And it’s predicted that by 2026 the global use of cash will drop to 21%, whilst the use of eWallets, like Apple Pay, is set to grow globally at a compound annual growth rate of just over 30%.

When it comes to alternative payment processes, debit cards reside as the country’s favourite payment method, representing 55% of in-store payments and 32% of all ecommerce transactions.

But as the so-called highstreet crisis is still ongoing, ecommerce continues to grow at an unstoppable rate. Not to mention the fact that In the UK, 78% of people now own a smartphone, with this figure jumping to 95% among 16-24 year-olds.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that mobile ecommerce is set to account for 67.2% of digital sales in 2019 – a percentage projected to reach 72.9% by 2021, almost half of which will be paid for via an eWallet.

To match the now prolific use of smartphones, and our pauchant for online shopping, digital payment methods are rapidly evolving, meaning small businesses need to keep-up to stay afloat.

We can now use our phones to buy practically anything. From food to clothing, taxi rides to gig tickets – as payment methods are increasingly integrated into popular mobile applications, allowing all transactions to be speedy and effortless.

But as the big business world storms ahead with online payment platforms and eWallet friendly mobile apps, the fear is that smaller, startup businesses might be left in the wake – still using old-school hard cold coins, as the rest of society goes cashless.

To keep up, the startup’s trading toolkit must now include a merchant account and either, for ecommerce businesses, an online payment system or, for face-to-face transactions, a credit card machine if the move to a cashless economy isn’t going to pass them by.

What might sound like a far cry from the pennies and pounds of times gone by, is nothing but a positive change for the small business owners who find having large quantities of cash on site risky, not to mention time consuming when it comes to lugging the cash to the bank.

Interestingly, 22% of ‘face-to-face’ payments are still being made with cash, meaning that predictions of a cashless society won’t ring immediately true, but nonetheless, there’s very much a global decline in cash use that we should all be aware of.

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