Australia is rapidly moving towards becoming a cashless society. It is believed that more than half of payments currently made in Australia are cashless, and many Australian smartphone users are now making cashless payments via their phones. Many are also predicting that Australia will eventually become completely cash-free. So, what’s the role of small businesses and cashless technology? Quite a big one if these predictions are to become the reality.
What are cashless payments?
Chances are you’re already accepting cashless payments. Since their introduction, tap-and-go cards have become the norm – almost two-thirds of Australians have made a purchase with a contactless card. But that’s only the beginning of the cashless revolution. Emerging technologies, such as mobile card readers, digital wallet apps, and the rise of cryptocurrencies are set to make it even easier for small businesses to accept cashless payments.
Emerging cashless technologies
Mobile card readers, like Square, are a game changer for small businesses. These technologies mean small businesses can now accept a wide range of cashless payments – tap-and-go cards, mobile wallets, chip cards – all via a universal card reader and digital app run on a tablet or smartphone at the point of sale.
A new suite of apps that turn consumers’ smartphones into digital wallets are also contributing to the demise of cash. Financial institutions, such as CommBank, and digital payment services, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, offer apps to their customers that help them pay for goods and services, and transfer funds to merchants, straight from their smartphones.
Then there are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. While previously the domain of dark web-lurking tech heads, this digital currency is set to become mainstream – thanks to apps like Bitcoin Wallet which make it easy for small businesses to accept digital currencies in store.
Pros and cons for small business
For retail businesses, cashless technologies are predicted to speed up the instore payment process and cut wait times. It’s a bonus for business owners – with happy customers grateful for a speedy service, and a likely increase in the number of transactions a volume-based business can process in a day.
Living in a completely cashless society means small businesses won’t need to keep cash on the premises, reducing the risk of theft and fraud, and the amount of time spent physically counting, recording, and depositing cash at the end of the day.
Another interesting benefit of cashless payments is the sophisticated analytics they provide. For example, Square, provides real-time transaction reports via an online dashboard so you can get an instant picture of how your business is performing at any given time.
On the downside, hacking remains a real threat, and owners using the technology will have to be vigilant with their cybersecurity measures. Another downfall is how the technology is affected in the event of a power outage, or if your internet connection goes down. Without cold hard cash, there will be no way to accept payments until the lights come back on.
If the predictions are accurate, digital card readers, smartphone-based digital wallets, and Bitcoin will soon replace cash altogether, and small businesses will be at the forefront of the new digital economy.