Maybe Cash Really Is Going Away?

by Carol Coye Benson on March 9, 2009

in Carol Coye Benson, Debit Cards, Mobile Banking & Payments

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I live in a small town in southern Oregon.  On Saturday, I was at the Middle School, manning the snack booth for the regional band competition.  I did pretty well – over 50 sales!  But what fascinated me was that three people asked, somewhat plaintively, if I took debit cards… They were all young moms.  They could see that I didn’t have a card acceptance set-up, but they clearly had no other means of paying.

This, of course, is one of the mobile payment scenarios that everyone is thinking about.  Clearly, each of the women had a cell phone with her.  What will it take to get one (or more) solutions to the “consumer tipping point”, so that it becomes the obvious solution to this problem?  

At Glenbrook, we talk about “brand as verb” – what (in this future world) will I say to those moms?  “Pay me by phone”?  “Send it to me by PayPal?”  Other?

3 Responses to “Maybe Cash Really Is Going Away?”

  1. I guess more and more people aren’t carrying cash because of the risk involved. People are just used to swiping the plastic for any and all needs. As always, people are doing what’s most convenient for them.

  2. Dave Birch says:

    Actually, I wonder if thus may be more about the end of cheques than the end of cash. This is one of the scenarios (around schools) that is seen as a kind of litmus test for whether cheques can be abandoned in the UK. Once you can use your phone to pay another person, as in the this example, then cheques can be withdrawn. Even with mobile payments, some people will still want to have cash because they benefit from it (eg, drug dealers, blackmailers, the government).

  3. Manju Murthy says:

    Carole, you bring up a good point. In the near future, ubiquitous mobile broadband (as a plan adopted by consumers) and/or SMS short codes [that can be readily recalled] are among the hurdles that come in the way of consumers adopting mobile payments. I have mobile payment accounts with both Paypal and Amazon, but don’t recall their SMS short codes. Consequently, I continue to reach out for my wallet to pay friends (low hanging fruit).

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