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Espresso of Innovation: Show Me The Money

By Martin Talks, global digital lead, president digital UK

Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we’re discussing the future of money, where we’ll keep it and if we really need it.
I attended a conference at Bloomberg on Wednesday discussing how retailers and financial institutions need to be a lot more adaptable to the changing fiscal landscape. The key message was that they need to keep up with the technology if they are to survive.
Mobile wallet products?
The turf war for the mobile wallet is building up steam. Retailers need to get on board early to take advantage of this and prepare their systems. emarketer estimates that the total transaction value for mobile payments in the U.S. will be $640 million this year, but that will grow to more than $62 billion in 2016. In the US the big players slugging it out for space in the digital wallet areSquare, PayPal'sZong andGoogle Wallet. In the UK market, for the moment, two of the bigger players include: Barclays'Pingit: which allows you to send and receive money using just a mobile phone number; and TheO2 Wallet which works like a pre-paid card
All very impressive, but they could learn a thing or two from Kenya'sm-pesa financial payment system which allows users without using a bank account to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device. Over 70% of households in Kenya use m-pesa.
But who needs a mobile?
But retailers should also think beyond mobile because even before mobile wallets become mainstream, they could begin to seem old fashioned. Why do you need to get out a phone to transfer money?
I was in Iceland before Christmas and paid for my drinks, snacks and massages in the super-heated waters of theBlue Lagoon with a wristband. 
Similar RFD enabled wristband technology was used at theWireless Festival last year. It let you spend up to £250 with the swipe of an arm.
And who needs money anyway?
Retailers should also look at the currencies they accept. Money as we know it is losing some of its value.
The peer-to-peer virtual currencyBitcoin took a step towards legitimacy in December 2012 as its eurozone wing joined the ranks of PayPal and Worldpay by becoming a registered payment services provider (PSP) under European law.
Fidor Bank, a German start-up, acts as a repository of both euros and World of Warcraft gold. Fidor also allows sign up with Facebook Connect and calculates interest rates based on the number of “Likes” you generate for the bank.
TheBrixton pound celebrated its second anniversary this week with David Bowie and Luol Deng starring on the new £1, £5, 10 and £20 notes.
Final Thought
Consumer demand for goods and service tailored to their individual needs it’s only a matter of time before cash becomes customised. Flexibility will be crucial for banks and retailers going forward if they are to remain relevant and not go the way of HMV and Blockbuster.
As always, for more great tech, trends and insight head to our Facebook page and if you come across anything innovative, amazing or just plain fun please email them to us.