How changing the way we pay changes everything.

At dopay, we’re passionate about the role that payments play in our lives. We believe they are profoundly important.

That makes it even more compelling to read ‘The Payoff – How Changing the Way We Pay Changes Everything’ by Gottfried Leibbrandt and Natasha de Terán.

… payments are hugely powerful, and they matter.

We fully agree when they write that “… payments are hugely powerful, and they matter: how we pay has a real and deep impact on our lives. Get payments right and economic activity prospers; get them wrong and economic activity can be stifled”.

They are well qualified to have a view. Leibbrandt is the former CEO of SWIFT, the global network for interbank transactions, while de Terán was SWIFT’s head of corporate affairs.

The book is an excellent read

It shows how the way we pay for things, and how we get paid ourselves, are fundamental to just about every aspect of our lives. And that’s true regardless of where in the world we live or what we do for a living.

In our first active market, Egypt, for example, our virtual banking platform, dopay for business, impacts the lives of hundreds of businesses.

That impact centres on how they are now able to pay their employees electronically, thus moving away from a wage packet of physical cash.

To people in other, non-frontier, economies, that might sound routine. Especially if the last time you were paid in cash was for casual work in college.

But, for the 1.7 billion people in employment around the world without a bank account, access to electronic payments – i.e., non-cash – is a major issue.

Reports of the death of cash may … be exaggerated but the ‘big story’ in payments is that of its steady displacement.

Leibbrandt and de Terán are even-handed in their analysis of the future of cash. As they say, ‘Reports of the death of cash may … be exaggerated but the ‘big story’ in payments is that of its steady displacement’.

This ‘steady displacement’ is driven by factors that include national backing of digitized currency (including by China and India) and government initiatives to limit cash payments across a whole range of economic activity (as is happening in Egypt as part of the move to a digitised economy).

To make a payment you need money, of the right kind and in the right place.

They sum up the Big Picture trends crisply: ‘To make a payment you need money, of the right kind and in the right place’.

Increasingly, ‘right kind, right place’ means a mix of cash and non-cash payment opportunities. Our approach recognises this. The prepaid cards that our business customers issue to employees enable them both to make electronic payments with Mastercard and to continue to access their wages in cash, via ATMs.

This hybrid approach means dopay card holders can still function in the areas of their financial lives where they need physical money: buying food at the market, making gifts or loans to family and friends.

In addition, they can now access the modern economy of card-based purchases. And all of this can happen irrespective of how much they earn and without having to open a bank account.

“Experiencing the next evolution in payments is bound to be an exciting ride.”

That’s how Leibbrandt and Natasha de Terán sum it up.

At dopay, we fully agree.

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