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June 21, 2016

Mastercard predicts end of cash in 20 years as UK contactless payments soar

News: Emergence of the UK as the fintech centre of the world is helping support the mass adoption of technology.

By James Nunns

The growth of contactless payment technology could result in the UK becoming a cashless society within 20 years.

With contactless spending having increased by 326% year-on-year, according to MasterCard, the majority of UK consumers (68%) now believe that cashless technologies will completely replace physical money by 2036.

Supported by the rise of contactless payments for travel, paying by a touch of the card, or phone, or contactless fashion accessory, has become increasingly popular.

This has led to partnerships between the likes of Barclaycard and Topshop for the production of NFC-enabled bracelets, phone cases and keychains. Visa has also recently debuted a contactless payment ring, which it will test-run at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Currently around one in every 10 payments in London is carried out using a contactless card and Visa predicts that by 2020 about half of all transactions by Londoners will be made on mobiles.

London has forged a path to the top when it comes to being a financial centre and technology hub, which has helped the UK’s fintech sector generate £6.6bn in revenue last year, attracting £525m in investment, and supporting 61,000 jobs, according to EY.

Eileen Burbidge, Investor and HM Treasury Fintech Envoy said: "The UK is emerging as the fintech centre of the world and London is the jewel in the crown of the UK’s fintech success story. With record levels of investment, access to talent, a growing culture of entrepreneurship and progressive policy makers and regulators, we have all of the right ingredients for success.

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"I am confident that London leads the likes of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Unlike the US, the growth of London and the UK’s fintech sector is being boosted by collaboration between key decision makers from the financial services and technology communities, as well as the policy makers in government."

The fintech capital of Europe, London has numerous firms that are at the forefront of pushing the envelope when it comes to new technologies that will help to further increase the adoption of contactless payments.

Efforts to maintain the continued growth in the sector have been revealed by the likes of the Bank of England, which last week revealed that it will be launched a fintech accelerator program. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said: "Financial technology companies will change the nature of money, shake the foundations of central banking and "deliver nothing less than a democratic revolution for all who use financial services."

MasterCard has also revealed its latest intake of fintech start-ups into its global Start Path programme. To further highlight the UK’s dominance of the fintech industry, 25% of all Start Path businesses are British.

The consumer research was carried out by London & Partners which surveyed 2,000 people.


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