Mobile Wallets: How will they impact the print industry?

There is a huge amount of research, legislation as well as hype surrounding the payment industry. Financial inclusion uses mobile technology platforms to reach faster and easier into the nooks and corners of the world as mobile coverage exists even where no electricity may be available in developing economies.

07 Sep 2015 | By Ranesh Bajaj

NFC, Bluetooth and similar technologies will even make transfers easier and without the need of a mobile connection or a Wi-Fi. It is a given that in the very near future, payments will be made via this mode but how does that impact the print industry.

1. Cheques will reduce: Banks will no longer be opening savings accounts and hence no more Cheque books will be given out. Personal banking will move to more or less 100% electronic. 
Corporate banking is already moving away to electronic wire transfers in most economies and hence the Cheque consumption is stagnant, if not decreasing.
2. Bank statements have more or less disappeared. With many countries, including India, making bank statement no longer mandatory even once a year, this part of the print has moved to the electronic medium in toto. Even credit card statements are being offered electronically with an additional charge for a hard copy.
3. Thermal Paper consumption on POS terminals will reduce. When you pay for a product at a supermarket in cash, you get one piece of paper, the invoice. When you pay at the same till with a Credit/Debit card, you get two; an invoice and the transactional slip from the CC company. But when you pay with a mobile wallet, what will you get? Either an electronic message and the invoice on the device, which means no paper, or at max, a printed copy of the invoice if you request one. 
4. Identity documents: When you open a bank account, you end up filling forms, attaching ID documents, signature cards and so on. A downloadable mobile app takes away all this. Your device ID and your signature is all that is needed. Even though small in number, this will affect print as well.
So all of the above does not augur well for the print industry. Here are two points that printers need to shout out at each forum to keep print alive.
a) Paper is 100% recyclable, while all these electronic devices used in the above processes are not. Landfills around the world are filling up with “Electronic Waste” which are damaging the environment much more than paper and print.
b) The energy consumption of all these devices is also high. A piece of paper can be stored, retrieved and used many times without needing to “Power it up”. A mobile phone actually uses 150% of electricity to charge 100% of its battery and needs to be powered up each time you want to retrieve the document.
The battle continues.