Exploring the Future of Payments

Questions about the future of cash are more relevant than ever.  While a cashless society has not yet materialised, the path we’ve traversed thus far suggests it’s only a matter of time.

The journey towards a cashless economy, spanning from ancient barter systems to the rise of cryptocurrencies, has been characterised by continuous advancement and adaption. Efficiency, speed and transparency are propelling the development of payment methods, driven primarily by technology and enhanced customer experiences. 

Considering treasury’s focus on financial stability, we must consider the potential impact of a digitally diverse financial ecosystem on the future of payments.

History of Money

Cash, cards, and crypto. The journey of payment infrastructure, from the birth of metal coins to the digital age, underscores the persistent evolution of exchange methods.

The 21st century catapulted the rise of digital payments leading to the current dominance of mobile banking and digital wallets. In more recent years bitcoin and cryptocurrencies marked a paradigm shift, operating on blockchain technology it decentralised currency and, to a degree, reshaped the monetary landscape. 

A digital economy 

Digitalisation of the economy, particularly in financial services, has transformed business-consumer interactions, with a focus on delivering direct, immediate and personalised customer experiences. 

Journeys to Treasury’s recent report identifies cash flow forecasting, frictionless payments and centralisation as crucial areas of focus for the upcoming year. Unsurprisingly, each of these areas involves the development of technological infrastructure to streamline and automate processes. 

The emergence of digital banks and increased e-commerce post-pandemic has accelerated the adoption of innovative technology solutions. The demand for expansion in digital payments infrastructure has directly impacted the role of treasury, and the importance of risk management runs parallel to these advancements. PwC’s 2025 & beyond report highlights concerns about cross-border transactions, data security, and cyber threats in the payment industry. 

In an increasingly global business landscape, there’s a growing emphasis on adapting and innovating cash management solutions and digital transformations within corporate treasury. 

The diverse nature of payments poses challenges for treasury departments, requiring seamless integration of various methods for secure and optimised cash flow. From contactless cards to digital wallets, QR codes, and even text messages, each demands unique integration and security measures for effective financial management. 


The geopolitical environment, coupled with rapid advancements in technology necessitates stringent regulations to safeguard domestic and international economies. 

Digital payment regulations are dynamic and susceptible to changes amidst evolving technology and financial environments. The comprehensive regulatory framework includes AML and KYC standards, PCI DSS for cardholder data protection, GDPR for EU citizens’ privacy, and EMRs overseeing electronic money institutions. 

APIs, which facilitate secure data sharing, have been instrumental in improving customer experience and fortifying security. Their employment in treasury management and the financial sector has supported the rise of digital payments and open banking. Despite the breadth of regulation within this sector, it’s important to recognise that these regulations are dynamic and continually evolving.

Future of payments 

The evolution of payment systems brings with it much debate and a renewed focus on financial sovereignty in the digital age. Despite these advancements, cash remains resilient, and promoting financial inclusion is paramount. 

Cash, an essential component of a stable economy, has played a vital role worldwide for centuries. Beyond mere transactions, its significance extends to various functions, including serving as legal tender, ensuring privacy, fostering financial inclusivity, enabling expense control, and functioning as a store of value.

The UK government’s recent policy underlines the importance of preserving cash access. The current economic climate has seen a resurgence in cash transactions, reflecting consumer preferences for financial control, with a 19% growth noted in the BRC payments survey.

As technology advances, the future of payment methods expands, increasing demand for specialized skills. Yet, the fundamental principles of treasury operations and cash management are set to endure. Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between cash and digital payments is crucial in navigating this evolving financial landscape.

Share this article: