I am a proud Londoner as regular readers of this blog will know. And I have recently discovered that London is the biggest centre in the world for contactless card payments – another reason for pride in my home City. Just recently I heard an episode of a BBC Radio 4 Moneybox programme called Can we Live without Cash. The making of the programme was prompted by the news that in 2015, more payments were made by card in the UK than with cash.
One of the reasons for the rapid move away from cash is the adoption of contactless payments. This is a system which enables a card reader to take money off a debit card without the need for a pin number- all you have to do is swipe it. Most readers will already be aware of the contactless system, especially those who travel on the London underground. Transport for London’s adoption of contactless systems has fueled the significant rise in cash-free payments.
We are so used to hearing bad news stories of our services and systems that it’s easy to overlook the good stories. In fact, Transport for London is pioneering in its use of new technology, having started to investigate cash free payment systems years ago. The Oyster card was introduced in 2003 and then in September 2014, contactless systems were introduced. The phrase ‘travelling light’ has assumed new meaning!
When it comes to electronic money, London leads the way too. Bitcoin, a form of digital money, has been around for some time. You could describe it as money for the internet. A growing number of outlets and service providers in the capital accept Bitcoins in payment. You can find a list here: http://www.wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk/location/london.
As for the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic, we continue to accept debit and credit cards but I suspect that novel payment systems are still far off in the future. As a fan of technology in both my professional and personal life, I am at the ready to try out new technologies as soon as I can. Currently, there is a limit of £30 on each contactless transaction in the UK but who know what the future holds. Will our society be truly cash free one day?