The face of the payments industry is changing rapidly thanks to the advances made in Bitcoin and digital wallets.
Payments are no longer the reserve of banks, Visa, or MasterCard, the future of banking lies in the digital wallet and online payments.
That is evident in the frequent moves made by the leading players to integrate with alternative offerings like Google, Samsung, and Microsoft.
These tech companies have created Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and the Microsoft Wallet, all of which allow users to pay for goods and services through their own digital wallet that is held on their device.
Moving payments to the device not only threatens the existence of cash, it was recently found that 43% of Britons carry less hard cash in their pockets than they did two years ago, according to a MasterCard study.
Of course it should be noted that a cashless society would favour MasterCard, so it is unsurprising that a study would find results that favour its business, but it does highlight the picture of an increasingly tech and card based society.
Realistically it has never been easier to pay for anything you want on the go, although anyone can tell you that things like contactless are far from ubiquitous either in London or outside of it.
The change in consumer preference has led to a mad rush from tech firms to become the best option for customers to easily pay from.
Even Facebook, a social media platform, has joined the gold rush. The company recently revealed that its US Messenger users will be able to make payments to bots within the app through their PayPal accounts.
While this is all well and good for the consumer in terms of it being easy to pay for things, it does raise some serious security concerns.
Last week consumer body Which? Rated 11 UK banks based on the security of their online banking, only five were found to have two-factor authentication login; Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Santander and TSB.
Brian Spector, CEO at MIRACL, said: “Banks are under enormous pressure to be as user-friendly as possible, which has unfortunately resulted in security being downgraded in a number of cases. Given the current state of security in the payments industry, it’s inevitable that the number of cases of financial fraud has risen so dramatically in the past year. Hackers have become more sophisticated and are managing to bypass traditional methods of security with alarming ease.
“A range of tactics which once seemed secure – such as identity verification via text message – are becoming easier for hackers to exploit. Simple two-factor authentication doesn’t protect against browser rootkit attacks, and hackers can easily hijack phone numbers or intercept text messages, making authentication via SMS increasingly redundant. The truth is, real digital security requires the complete elimination of centralised security systems, such as username and password databases.”