UK Ditches Cash For Cards, Africa Continues to Expand Mobile Money

POS2014 marks the first time that UK ‘non-cash’ payments outnumbered cash payments, in a total of 18 billion transactions. In its report, the UK Payments Council analyzed how cash was used by consumers in 2014 and how it could evolve in the next ten years.

All in all, cashless payments in the UK continued their steady albeit slow rise in 2014, with 52% of all payments made via mobiles, the Internet or through debit cards and cheques.

With Scandanavian countries, the UK is one of Europe’s fastest cashless growing societies while the rest of the EU tries (or not) to play catch up. Always at the forefront of innovative payment services, the UK has, for instance, introduced contactless payments already in 2007. Initially limited at £10, the contactless payment service was recently bumped up to £30 due to its growing popularity. Another example is mobile payment service Paym, which is based on a collaboration between major British banks and the Payments Council. Paym has helped consumers and businesses transfer small payments between mobile customers without the need to exchange bank information.

Cash volume is forecasted to fall by 30% in the next ten years. And even though cash remained, in 2014, the most popular way to pay among consumers, representing more than half (52%) of all their transactions, the Payment Council predicts that this figure will already drop below 50% next year (2016). The debit card followed in popularity with 24% of all payments. It is worth noticing that out of the 2.3 million consumers who decided to rarely use cash last year, half were under the age of 35. Read more on Pymnts

In Africa mobile money continues to expand

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The amount of money sent to sub-Saharan Africa via mobile services is expected to hit $33 billion this year, reflecting the increasing number of mobile phone users on the continent.

There has been significant growth in mobile money remittances in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda recently but there has been stagnation in Nigeria, Africa’s largest telecom market by investment and subscription, according to WorldRemit, a global money transfer company. Still, Nigeria, which received $21 billion in 2014 via mobile money, accounts for two-thirds of remittances to the region. Fearing that they will become irrelevant, banks have also begun providing mobile money services to customers, and in some cases, partner with operators. PCWorld reports