Imagine a world where consumers glide their hand over a contactless terminal, effortlessly paying for a sandwich thanks to a chip embedded in a water-proof, ceramic ring, or where they pay for a ride on the London Underground metro with a radio frequency identification chip hidden in a set of false nails.
It's already here – but in 2017 it will begin to impact the food industry, especially retailers.
Major retailers have already launched their own smartphone payment systems – such as Tesco’s PayQwiq or Alibab’s Alipay – and others will start to
follow, predicts Mintel.
PayQwiq, for instance, stores consumers’ debit and loyalty card information and allows them pay for up to £400 (€450) of shopping instantly, eliminating the need to queue up at the cash register. A way for the consumer to save not just time but, potentially, money too: “Businesses that create their own payment schemes will theoretically be able to pass on debit and credit card transaction fee savings to their customers in the form of loyalty-boosting discounts.”
But this kind of easy spending comes with a warning.
“Cash-free retail spaces will improve convenience for shoppers, while the ease of payment may lead to a greater number of impulse purchases,” says Cottney. "In terms of finance, we may be entering into an era of reckless spending as money loses its tangibility in a cashless society.”
Yet here, too, there could be a solution. The advent of open banking - the sharing of transactional data required for push payments – allows intermediaries like Monzo to offer consumers category statements that show spending on food or alcohol, which could help people budget.