"Shall we do away with Plastic?"



What is the future of physical (plastic) cards? Are we slowly moving towards a cardless world? These two questions have been really getting a hype with the growing number of mobile payment options and also other tech solutions to access and operate money.

Hence, we can say that we’re in the midst of a roller coaster with the rapidly evolving technologies and other innovative ideas. Once a time, cash was the only mode of buying and selling products and services, slowly credit and debit cards started replacing it. And now, contactless payments which are digitally driven are giving both the cash and plastic a run for their money.

Cash was once a king, until credit and debit cards took its place. And now, digital and contactless payments are giving both cash and plastic a run for their money. And to top it off, the COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the process of transitioning humankind towards the era of digital payment.

Robustly networked countries have been really quick when it comes to the adoption of digital payments, due to it being a contactless model, safe, and convenient. Hence, merchants looking from the buyers perspective have been really rethinking about whether card payments are actually getting obsolete.

According to the GSMA report, “The number of unique mobile subscribers have already surpassed the 5-billion mark, which represents the worldwide mobile communications industry.” This means nearly 70 percent of humans have become mobile subscribers, which means, digital payments will slowly grasp everyone’s eye due to its convenience and safety measures. However, internet connectivity will be playing a major role in the expansion of the digital payment market. As the world is getting connected with the 4G and soon to be 5G network, it is likely that the trend will accelerate further.

 

The Flipside of the Coin

Reitman once said, “The rich may be better equipped to buy themselves privacy, whether that’s setting up corporate entities for their transactions or making political donations through PACs. However, for the average person trying to use a traditional bank account to process a payment online, there’s no anonymity.”

“There are many people who are unbanked and cannot receive lines of credit for a whole range of reasons and a ban on cash would particularly impact the unbanked community,” he added.

While if we talk about Cards, it will not go out of fashion so soon, especially in the countries where network connectivity has still not reached to the furthest. Also, not everyone is accustomed with smartphones and digital wallets, hence, there is a large sum of people who are still good with cash and card payments and are also not likely to transition themselves towards digital payments - especially the old section of the communities.