More than half of Brits (51%) expect to be able to pay by scanning their thumbprint in the year 2025, according to new research carried out by the Payments Council’s education campaign, PayYourWay.org.uk.
Looking beyond payments, the British public’s most expected new invention in 2025 is a speech enabled home, with almost two thirds (65%) of people expecting to have their lights, ovens and computers triggered by speech. Almost a third of people (31%) expect self-driven cars to be available and it appears that men are generally more positive than women about technology.
More than two thirds (68%) of men agree that they are excited about how technology could improve their lives (compared to 58% of women), and men are far more likely to expect head-mounted interactive 3D displays in 2025. Almost a quarter of men (24%) think they will have access to a 3D headset, compared to just one in ten (11%) women asked the same question.
The research was carried out to mark the publication of a new report examining the future of payments and the ways it could be possible to pay. In the report, Pay Your Way 2025: Future Payments, leading independent futurologist Dr Ian Pearson uses his expert knowledge of trends in technology and society to give his view on what types of payments might be possible and popular:
- Pay by handshake – handshakes are a well-established social ritual, so using them as part of payment transactions would feel very natural, Dr Pearson argues. He point out that data can be transmitted electrically through the skin – a data rate of 2Mbits/sec (equivalent to over 100 pages of text during a handshake) was achieved as far back as the 1990s.
- Digital jewellery – pieces of jewellery such as lapel pins, rings, badges, necklaces, or earrings could replace mobile phones in the form we know them now and either transfer money themselves or authenticate a payment, according to Dr Pearson.
- Augmented reality – computer generated images could be superimposed onto contact lenses. This, coupled with using gestures to pay for items, will make shopping more ‘natural’ and could destroy many of the boundaries between web and high street shopping. This will also increase markets for electronic payments.
Interestingly, whilst 51% expect to be able to pay by thumbprint scans, Dr Pearson said security concerns would actually limit its use, saying it is easy to get hold of someone’s prints – for example from a glass they have used in a bar. He suggests the security of this method might be improved if used in conjunction with printing unique electronic information on to the fingernail or in conjunction with digital jewellery. Indeed, technology already exists that scans the veins of the fingers, rather than the print, as an enhanced security method.
Dr Pearson comments: “Technology will adapt to us, making it easier to pay for things, even for people who dislike technology. As in so many other areas, the more advanced technology becomes, the less visible it will be, and the more human.”
The vast majority of people still expect to be able to use their familiar cash (68%), credit (73%) and debit (75%) cards in 2025, yet 42% of Brits think the technology will be in place to let them do away with their purse or wallet if they choose. The research also points to payments using a mobile phone becoming a mainstream option. Seven out of ten people expect to be able to use their mobile to make a payment.
Commenting for Pay Your Way, Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive of the Payments Council said: “It is certainly intriguing to look further ahead at possible future payments, but there is plenty happening in the way of innovation right now. The Payment Council’s mobile payments project is already working to help banks and others make it possible to pay securely on a mobile without needing to know account details. This collaborative project should make it possible to seamlessly make payments from one institution to another on your mobile. It could become an attractive option when making person-to-person payments – such as paying a friend for lunch – or where a business doesn’t accept cards but needs immediate payment which they can check at a glance.”
Pay Your Way 2025: Future Payments also contains an illustrated timeline of the history of innovation in payments and a review of the predictions we made in 2001 about 2011. For a full copy of the report and for more on payment methods available now, visit www.payyourway.org.uk