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Digital Money Is Now Part Of The Fabric Of The Modern World – Report

A recent report from Imperial College London with Citi digs deeper into digital money – its benefits, global adoption, tipping point and much more.

The paper entitled, “Releasing The Flow Of Digital Money Hitting The Tipping Point Of Adoption”, seeks to provide insights into digital money’s growing impact on all our lives, the Financial Times reported.

“Digital money, the migration from cash and checks to credit/debit cards, stored value instruments and other non-paper based mechanisms, is now part of the fabric of the modern world”, it said.

The benefits of digitizing paper money are many, such as saving costs, swift transfers, and boosting financial inclusion. However, people’s preference or rather devotion for cash, influenced by socioeconomic, cultural, financial and political sensitivities, is one of the biggest remaining hurdles to the widespread adoption of digital money.

The report says that there is “undeniable importance” of the “tipping point” – the point at which people’s familiarity with and use of digital money solutions pushes adoption toward the mainstream. Reaching the tipping point will result in big benefits – up to $400 billion in annual savings, along with strong social benefits.

For this, the report five use cases that provide the digital money solution map:

  • Government-to-person (G2P) disbursements: Government payments to citizens, such as social security payments, pensions and tax rebates. For example, Daviplata in Colombia (mobile money), Electronic benefit cards in Brazil etc.
  • Consumer Retail Payments: Payments for goods and services in store, for example Apple Pay, China Union Pay, RuPay in India etc
  • Electronic Commerce: Payment for goods and services online, for instance PayTm in India, bank transfers in Indonesia etc.
  • Cross-Border Remittances: the peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer of funds, for example, Orange Money in Africa (mobile money).
  • SME Collections: A subset of B2B payments exclusive to small and medium-sized companies, for example, Tradeshift (SME-focused payment systems)

Further, it says that by moving a quarter of paper-based payments to digital across G2P disbursements, retail payments and SME collections together, companies, governments and merchants could unlock between $350 billion and $400 billion in annual savings. There could also be significant social benefits in financial inclusion and gender equality.

“The digital money journey has begun, but we expect plenty more twists and turns in the coming years before it reaches its conclusion”, the paper said.

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