Revolut CTO predicts cashless societies by 2030

Academy · 12 April 2018Rob Braileanu

From banknotes to credit cards to bitcoin, money is constantly changing shape. In a bold statement, Revolut's CTO predicts cashless societies will become the norm within a decade.

Cash is no longer king 👑

The future of banking has an array of endless possibilities, but the concept of a cashless society seems more imminent. In 2017 alone, it was estimated that non-cash transactions grew by 10.5%, and accounted for more than 522.4 billion transactions worldwide, with experts predicting they will account for more than 725 billion by 2020. Echoing what research has already shown, our CTO & Co-Founder, Vlad comments:

“Businesses, especially financial institutions, are having to adapt as we move towards a cashless society. With the rise of contactless and mobile payments, I hope and believe that it will be possible for the UK to be fully cashless within the next 10 years. That is why Revolut are creating a number of features that make it even easier for our customers to make secure, cashless payments.”

Here at Revolut, we are laying the foundation for cashless societies to prosper, by building the necessary tools and infrastructure needed to support our entire financial lives, all without the need for cash. And the reason is simple - cashless payments have many benefits ranging from ease of use, convenience and security, with many claiming that cashless transactions speed up services and reduce the risk of crime, specifically robberies.

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The Stockholm Syndrome 🇸🇪

In Europe, Sweden appears to be leading the way with regards to a cashless society, with 36% of the population claiming they never use cash and 25% of Swedes using it just once a week, falling from 63% in 2013, according to the World Payments Report 2017.

Cash is now used in less than 20% of transactions in Swedish stores, and the amount in circulation has dropped to its lowest since 1990. Our CTO not only believes the UK should walk in the footsteps of the Swedes if it wants to become a cashless leader, but he also highlights the need for constant innovation and technological developments:

“If the UK aspires to be fully cashless, we need to continue to innovate and encourage the use of technologies that make contactless transactions easier. Ideas such as banning coins and banknotes on buses have now been in force for several years, while market traders, street vendors and more now accept card and phone payments.”

Steady progress at home and beyond 📈

In the UK, a natively progressive country, a trend has been emerging over the last few years. Reports show that 41% of all cards now have contactless functionality with 1 in 6 (17%) of British shoppers claiming that, on an average day, they don’t use any cash at all. Experts have predicted that by 2025 cash usage will fall to just 25%, compared to a reported 45% in 2015.

“Unfortunately, UK infrastructure lacks behind countries like Sweden, and our relatively large population isn’t an ideal test-bed for cashless innovation. We’ve still got a long way to go until lumbering traditional banks fully adopt cashless technology, and even then not all consumers tend to trust the big banks or institutions with their information or money.”

Outside the confines of the European continent, this growing trend has become prominent in different parts of the world. In Singapore, China and Canada, for instance, studies show that 56% of all transactions are cashless. In smaller and less developed countries such as Somaliland, contactless and mobile payments are being adopted at an exponential rate, increasing to around 50% in 2017 alone.

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One small step for Fintechs, one giant leap for mankind 🚀

Paving the way for the creation of a truly cashless society, fintechs from around the world are continuing to build innovative products in a bid to eradicate the need for physical money.

Leading the cashless revolution, our latest set of features takes us one step closer to becoming cash-free. Revolut disposable virtual cards include card details that automatically change after every transaction, protecting our users against account fraud and cybersecurity threats.

What do you think? Cash or No Cash?

Opinions on whether a cashless society is beneficial are mixed. While some argue that switching to complete digital money systems brings convenience as well as overall security, others believe we should not hand over total control to a handful of financial institutions and should always be able to revert to cash.

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