Are Mobile Payments Making Cash and Cards Extinct?

    Today’s consumers are faced with more payment options than ever before. Google Pay and Apple Pay have revolutionized the transaction process for businesses everywhere, online or brick-and-mortar. The convenience and security of mobile payment apps is sweeping cash and cards into the shadows — but to say that mobile pay is the wave of the future that will sweep away all other financial options is going too far. Even advocates of mobile pay apps, such as Google, Amazon, and many other retail behemoths, are quite certain that older and more established methods of payment will still be needed as time goes by.

    There is, after all, the question of processing fees for a mobile payment. Right now the fees, if any, are quite small and painless — for both retailer and consumer. But consumer advocates are beginning to question why there should be any fees at all for the customer. This issue is going to be revisited frequently, and contentiously, in the next few years.

    There is also the matter of demographics. Consumers sixty-five years and older still prefer to pay for the majority of their purchases, especially groceries and eating out at restaurants, with either cash or a check. And they are a formidable part of the customer base in the United States, as well as world-wide. 

    Online or off-line still makes a great difference in payment methods as well. Recent studies show that over forty percent of consumers pay for online purchases with credit cards on a regular basis, while less that twenty-five percent of consumers will use a credit card at a convenience store or a dollar store. 

    Pharmacies and big box stores report that one in three customers use debit cards when making purchases — and that percentage is not likely to change dramatically in the foreseeable future, according to financial experts.