It is time to throw any doubt about the future in cashless payments right out the window. Countries all over the world have been using cashless as a reputable and reliable form of payment for years. Be it debit and credit cards, or online payment gateways such as Paypal and Apple Pay, however over the past eighteen months countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom have adapted to the changing world of technology and implemented NFC enabled bank cards.
I have spent this entire year traveling between the United States, South Africa, Canada and the UK and I have been extremely interested in the changing world around me.
Landing in canada, I was thrown aback by the early adoption and implementation of NFC technology as a means to pay for everyday things. I remember looking at both friends and strangers alike simply tapping their cards at any store or restaurant and thinking this is exactly what we are aiming to do in South Africa! I was surprised that the US was behind in the times, that Canada was ahead of the game. So, naturally I did some asking around. The NFC cards had been on the market for about the last eighteen months,and had a maximum limit of $100 so as to protect users cards, any transaction above that would need a pin. My six week adventure continued to be filled with this technology, as I tapped my way through every purchase, meal, and bar. In fact, all the stores from major chains right down to local mom and pop shops had NFC reading terminals. People throughout my trip said they didn’t think much about the change when it had happened, they were simply issued new bank cards but as a result were pushed into the future of payment technology, efficient customer experiences, and a new found ease and enjoyment in their daily chores from grocery shopping to hosting meetings for their clients. It’s a different way of life and they didn’t even know it.
My surprise did not stop there. Next up I found myself in London and later Scotland, both of which were using the very same tap payments. Now granted, London has been using this technology with their oyster cards for decades but to stand at the train station on my way up to Scotland, having some spare time and grabbing tacos and a beer, and tapping my card made my travel experience that much easier. No lines, pins, international this or the other, just tap and enjoy. Again, I was blown away that now two countries I was living in had a way of life that was slowly entering South Africa but for some odd reason ceased to exist in Los Angeles of all places.
This has motivated me more than ever to get this up and running back home in South Africa. It was time to advance, to be on par with the first world countries out there. It was time to step closer to all those 80’s movies about the future. If I couldn’t have my hover board last here I sure was going to have my cashless payments.