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What will drive the journey towards cashlessness and digitalisation?

Market dynamics and infrastructure vary greatly per country and region but the direction of innovation and change are converging on the same outcome: digitisation and cashlessness.

As the world adopts digitalisation in all sectors and societies, there is greater demand for unbanked communities to be banked and for digital banking to enable better choice and control for consumers, greater opportunities for merchants and businesses, increased cross-border trade and benefits for governments.

The reasons for the transition away from cash and towards digital include enabling connections between unbanked consumers, merchants and services through mobile money; greater visibility and view on liquidity for merchants, including real time confirmation and settlement; reduction in fraud and crime by implementing a digital trace and, hence, audit system; financial inclusion; for banks, greater volumes and transactions are welcomed also.

System integration and standardisation are the crucial factors on this journey to grow the ecosystem and the key tenets of interoperability and ubiquity, each of which drives the other, are becoming the focus for any serious mobile money or digital financial provider.

QR codes have been instrumental across the Middle East, Africa and Asia to facilitate mobile and digital payment services and they could provide a gateway to unified and integrated financial offerings, countrywide, regionwide and even worldwide.

As digital payments become pervasive, API infrastructures are providing the basis for interoperable systems, but these can be supported also by third party aggregators or, often in developed markets, switch technology. The expansion of API infrastructure and the proliferated services it enables depends on standardised and harmonised interaction and integration, as well as collaboration between private and public firms.