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Will physical payments soon be history?

Will physical payments soon be history?

Ingrid van den Berg

Account Manager

27 November 2014

Will physical payments soon be history?


Apple Pay and Sixdots; these are only two out of several solutions that make it possible to pay for purchases without using physical money or a card. As smartphones are getting more mainstream, more payment solutions via apps arise and these solutions are getting more popular everyday.

As we already wrote in an earlier blog post, users of the iPhone 6 do not even need to open an app or wake their display to pay in a store (once they have set up this process). Thanks to the Near Field Communication antenna it is possible to hold the smartphone near a contactless reader with one finger on TouchID. A vibration and beep informs the user that the payment was successfully sent.

Introduction to Sixdots

Belgium has its own local contactless payments alternative: Sixdots. This is a smartphone app that allows you to pay online in a fast, convenient and secure way. The payment is processed via MasterPass, a worldwide mobile payment solution of MasterCard. With Sixdots it is possible to use several Belgian bank, credit and pre-paid cards all at once, in one app. With a six-digit code users are able to open and use the mobile wallet. This means that there is no need to use a card reader or entering card details for payments. When solutions like this gain popularity, this might mean that physical payments become a thing of the past.

Sixdots has some obvious advantages. As the app is fully supported by all the big telecom and bank players in Belgium, this is a widely supported solution for those who do not want to pay with cash or card. Furthermore, the app is available to everyone with an Android smartphone or iPhone with a Belgian SIM card from any provider and a Belgian card of any bank. This means that the solution is applicable to a large group of Belgian consumers. For now Sixdots only offers the possibility to digitalise wallets; soon they will also offer couponing, ticketing and loyalty programs.

Responsibility and self-control when using payment apps

There is, however, another side of the coin. As a solution like Sixdots makes payments really easy, there is a risk that dealing with payments becomes too easy. Critics think that for people with budget issues, paying without wallets or cards can be too tricky, as users do not have an overview of their expenses. There is hardly a threshold to buy new purchases, as the payment is done almost automatically and a user does not receive a bank statement from the transaction. Users of payment methods such as Apple Pay and Sixdots should use the apps in a responsible way. But is this a real difference compared to paying during the old days? People should always be careful when dealing with money, whether this is physical or digital.