What QuotePro payment kiosks reveal about consumer preferences

QuotePro-Kiosk-Watkins-Auto-NO-ShadowAstute readers may be aware that the digital payments industry has become a thing. 

And no wonder. It’s fast. You don’t have to carry around a wallet full of cards or cash. You can pay bills without leaving home, even without getting out of bed, if you want. You avoid nasty germs that like to ride around on currency. Apps update balances so you don’t have to do math, and they provide an electronic trail so you can prove that, yes, you really did pay that bill on time. 

Yet cash doesn’t seem to be surrendering its popularity. As I cited before, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s 2017 “State of Cash” report reports: 

Despite innovations in smartphone technology and mobile payment apps … The amount of currency in circulation has increased steadily over time, and demand for higher denominations has accelerated in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. 

The enduring popularity of cash is demonstrated, if not dramatized, by the manner in which people are choosing to use QuotePro’s new self-service payment kiosks. 

More than 100 kiosks placed in various business locations accept payments via cash, check, credit card, and debit card. That much isn’t new. It’s the speed with which the kiosks make funds available to creditors that makes them unique. Powered by Fiservs CorPoint® cash management technology, these kiosks provide creditors with provisional, next-day credit for deposited funds. (Full disclosure: Fiserv is my employer.)

But, going back to cash, here’s the curious thing. Per a November 6, 2018, Fiserv press release …

… when given a choice between cash, check, credit and debit card, 70 percent of consumers paying at these kiosks are choosing cash. 

I am no psychologist, but somehow I doubt that the 70 percent are choosing cash from a fondness for handling bacillus cereuscorynebacterium diphtheriae, or escherichia coli. Whether it’s practicality or pure nostalgia, there is something enduring about cold, hard currency that makes people loath to give it up.

The QuotePro-Fiserv kiosks turn cash into ones and zeros and then back again. Cash deposited at the kiosk becomes a digital payment only temporarily. Once it’s picked up and processed, the digital payment re-becomes cash. 

There are notable conveniences at both ends. People who pay with cash can do so in a risk-free environment. And merchants receive funds faster and need fewer armored car pick-ups.

I don’t pretend to know how long cash will continue to be around. But it’s clear that the digital payments industry will only grow and someday may well take over. In the meantime, ever-evolving technology lets them play nicely in the same sandbox. 

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