In 2016, cardless cash was deemed to be a solution to a problem that didn’t exist… But consumer adoption has sky rocketed, heralding a new age in payments.

I was really impressed when Qantas were amongst the first companies globally to launch an Apple Watch app that allowed passengers to simply scan their boarding pass from their watch when boarding. It turned out, however, to be an epic fail. The scanners at departure gates were not big enough for passengers to pass their wrists under to scan their digital boarding passes.

That was 2015, which is a long time ago in terms of technology innovation. Today, the idea of using mobile devices – including wearables – as a form of payment is almost mainstream. In fact, thanks to keychain technology I rarely have to unsheathe my debit or credit cards and all of my membership cards are now digitised using apps. But does this necessarily mean the end of cards and the global schemes on which they run, or is it simply a matter of physical convenience?

It is technology that is defining the future of payments, not policy or regulation.

It is often pointed out that today’s mobile phones are more powerful than the technology used by NASA to land on the moon. It’s not surprising, therefore, that transacting with technology – digital wallets, virtual cards, banking platforms – can be easily handled by your mobile device or even wearable.

In the mid-2000s, when the ability to deliver mobile broadband emerged (3G), it heralded a new age in mobile payments that is now beginning to come to life with in-app payment capabilities. Today, challenger banks have helped to drive higher levels of consumer expectation for simplicity and ease of payment. At the same time, merchants are exploring the lowest cost routing of payments. This is creating an inevitable shift towards app-based and cardless transactions.

And whilst we may feel like trail blazers in mobile payments, Kenya is in fact the pace setter having created M-Pesa – a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and micro-financing service, launched in 2007. It is a wonderfully simple example of how technology can mobilise a largely unbankable demographic and empower them with a thriving payments ecosystem.

At Split, we believe that the future of payments is tied inherently to delivering the simplest form of payment. One that is fast, trusted, and traceable. Loyalty and rewards can only hold an audience for so long – and they are easily transferable. Digital platforms are providing exactly what younger generations are looking for – better alternatives to credit, simpler transactions, and positive outcomes.

What are your predictions on the future of payments? Comment below.