ONLINE PAYMENTS SERVICE Paypal has said that the UK is "getting very close" to eliminating cash, adding that it could be as soon as 2016 when digital transactions are the most popular form of payment.
Speaking at the 2013 London Websummit conference on a Future of Payments Panel today, Paypal's director of innovation John Lunn was asked whether pocket change will become a thing of the past, and said, "We keep on saying this will be 2016, I think we are getting pretty close now, I think people are getting fed up and it's expensive." Well, he would say that, wouldn't he, we expect.
When questioned about whether the firm will ever consider accepting the Bitcoin currency, Lunn skirted around the issue, saying, "We accept a lot of different currencies." He argued that the biggest problem with Bitcoin was that he wasn't sure that retailers would want to accept it.
When discussing the state of the high street in the UK at present, Lunn said retailers are in a pickle at the moment due to the recession and that it is on the back of this problem that the firm is making its move into the "real world" with its recently launched chip and pin service, Paypal Here.
"Merchants are in trouble, and that's how we are making our move into the real world," Lunn said.
"Big companies are churning out a business everyday but the one thing the internet has done is make it incredibly easy to sell stuff, which has put price pressure on small retailers, who have got costs internet companies don't have, and they are in trouble."
Lunn believes that big companies caused this problem, as they cared less about the individual and more about the masses.
"In the '60s you'd walk into a shop and they knew who you were and what you wanted and you were treated like a human being," Lunn said. "When the big companies came in they treated people like cattle," he added.
Lunn said Paypal plans to aid these retailers with its data, helping them work out who is coming in their store, what the customer likes, what they've bought before and what they don't like, to make their experience more special, giving the buyer a reason to go to that store instead of buying online. µ