We all like the feel of cash in our pockets. However, there are plenty of examples of new payment models in which the exchange of physical currency is removed from the equation. Here are three cases in which businesses have eliminated the option of passing over a few bills:
The Mobile Fast Food Pickup
Most of your favorite pizza joints and casual-service restaurants now have apps, and many have the functionality to order for pickup or delivery. Old news. However, the use of apps to pre-order and pay with your loaded credit card account has become so convenient (to consumer and restaurant), that a handful of restaurants have moved away from cash altogether. Smart phones with virtual wallets have become so ubiquitous that a few establishments find that they can eliminate cash payments with little negative impact to the business. In fact, there are benefits: removing the exposure of sending out delivery drivers with money in pocket, avoiding runs to the bank, and not hassling with the security issues associated with keeping money on site.
On-Site Cashless ATMs
There are some business models that are cash-dependent and yet there are concerns with keeping large caches of cash on hand. These are businesses that your favorite underwriter might consider “not quite low risk” (think sweepstakes parlors and Colorado- or Oregon-based herbal supplement shops). In these stores, cashless ATMs have become more common. These on-site devices typically accept a debit card and newer models can accept contactless debit payments. When the consumer is ready to pay, he simply inserts the debit card and follows the prompts to direct funds directly to the merchant housing the device.
The Camera-Pay Retail Outlet
A niche group of markets and convenience stores have begun flirting with a business model based on QR codes and cameras. These brick & mortar shops are lightly staffed and require almost no checkout procedure. The consumer enters the store and browses the merchandise as she would during any shopping trip. However, she’s using the store shopping app. Using the camera in her phone, she scans the QR code by each items she wishes to purchase. This, in turn, enables a payment to the store. A clerk only needs to confirm payment at the end and see the shopper out the door – with no “real” money changing hands.
Will smart phones and digital payments soon eclipse the use of paper money? We sure hope not, because making it rain with smart phones hurts when they come back down, and usually just breaks your phone.