What Will Finally Kill Cash? Apple Pay, Says Survey

As much as we all love digital banking (and we do) there are clear kinks that need to be worked out.

The recent Android banking Trojan that’s gaining ground, Tesco Bank having to halt online transactions, the massive Yahoo hack, and even the troubles at Wells Fargo could all be used to explain why 89% of people still carry cash around for transactions, according to a recent survey conducted by Sage Payment Solutions.

While the ‘cashless’ debate seems to have reached blockchain proportions (with people arguing more about the when then the if), some mystery remains around the method that will succeed it: will the end of cash also signal the end of plastic cards? Will digital wallets reign supreme?

The winner, according to the Sage survey? Apple Pay.

“More and more the payment event is becoming integrated into the commerce experience,” says Paul Bridgewater, CEO of Sage Payment Solutions–more than a third of those surveyed (35% of respondents) stated that they expected Apple Pay to be the most popular way to pay by 2020.

This might come as a surprise to those familiar with the payment platform. IOS devices make up just 12% of the global market, and though Apple Pay is also on the web, Apple’s Safari browser has just 9% marketshare. Further, Apple Pay numbers, while growing modestly, are nothing to brag about.

Even if Sage’s surevey respondents are correct, this doesn’t mean cash will have dissipated entirely as a payment method, though others have argued it will be so–but with 20% of this study’s participants still carrying checks (actual paper checks) it seems as though cash might still be around, just supplanted from its throne by Apple Pay.

In other words, though the shift to mobile payment apps and digital wallet apps like Apple Pay as the most popular method of payment will definitely occur in the future, the transition will be slow and gradual.

We are also seeing a shift towards P2P products–though the survey states that only 3% of participants (Sage polled 1,110 business leaders and 1,062 consumers) have downloaded a P2P app, the potential use for them is expected to increase exponentially.

Headphone-jackless phones, Touch Bars that everyone already kind of hates, and ever-expanding dongle collections aside, Apple is a trusted brand, and with security the top concern for both businesses and consumers that’s something that can’t really be ignored–especially as the payments space is getting more and more crowded with an array of alternatives all crowding around consumers in a dizzying frenzy.

“[Everyone] seems to have a solution with ‘pay’ at the end of it and it does flood the field of pay,” says Bridgewater, adding that consumers are somewhat more likely to trust “a wallet brought by a huge globally facing brand” like Apple.

Adoption of digital payments is also semi-stalled due to security concerns by both consumers and merchants; given the list of events above (plus the new TrickBot described here by IBM) that shouldn’t exactly be a surprise.

At any rate, it will take Apple Pay some time to assume its throne, so don’t expect to see cash disappear rapidly—but let’s at least hope PoS payments by check have disappeared by 2020. Don’t be that person.

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