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The growth of digital-only banks such as Axos, Varo, and N26 as legitimate challengers to incumbent large national and regional banks are just the most recent examples of how digital-only financial services providers are disrupting financial services.

The rapid growth of digital-only banks is one of the most prominent indicators of the shift away from business models where financial services are sold in-person and managed in centralized banking centers by the largest banks.

The trend to more digital-only options isn’t limited to banking. Other financial product verticals such as loans, insurance, and money remittances are also being disrupted by digital-only competitors with competitive advantages such as lower customer acquisition costs. Many traditional brick-and-mortar financial services providers respond to this trend by providing digital-only services of their own to compete. Thus, driving the growth in digital payments into the double digits for years to come.

The rapid growth of digital payments

According to research done by, The global digital payments market size is expected to from USD 79.3 billion in 2020 to USD 154.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.2%. The digital payments market is expected to grow, owing to the worldwide initiatives to promote digital payments, the proliferation of smartphones enabling mCommerce growth, increase in eCommerce sales, and growth in internet penetration.

Why digital financial service providers must reach out to the cash consumer

Even as financial services options expand digitally, the relationship between consumers and cash remains critically important to the global financial ecosystem. For the estimated 63 million U.S. consumers who are unbanked or underbanked, or those consumers where the privacy and spending control guaranteed by cash payments is a more attractive payment method than bank cards and mobile wallets, reliance on cash is necessary.

Therefore engaging with these consumers who prefer or can only make cash transactions makes sense for several reasons.

A valuable revenue stream

With so many consumers relying on cash or only using cash to make payments, digital financial service providers that enable these consumers to use cash to purchase their products and services could significantly impact their revenues. The targeting of millions of unbanked/underbanked consumers creates not only an influx of new sales but could also make a significant contribution to their bottom line.

A key differentiator

Even among consumers with access to alternative payment methods to cash, some consumers strongly prefer to protect their financial details online. Offering more payment methods, including those which do not rely on sharing information such as bank card details, is a way for financial services providers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. With few other options available, cash customers will be drawn to your products and services furthering differentiating your company from the competition.

Consumers prefer options

According to Paysafe research and recent news reports, offering consumers more options to pay is essential for all business, especially online businesses. The same holds for digital financial service companies. For consumers that prefer to manage their finances using cash already, incentivizing them to switch to digital services for financial products they cannot access without having to abandon cash will be difficult. Those that do facilitate cash in online checkouts strengthen their position in the market.

Cash is still a very popular way to pay

We already know that cash remains a popular form of payment worldwide; even though the number of unbanked consumers may be falling globally, the volume of cash in circulation continues to increase due to its demand. In Sweden, where the decline of cash use has been the most dramatic, the volume of cash in circulation is increasing for the first time since 2007, indicating a sustained appetite for making transactions with cash.

The same upward trend in cash in circulation has been observed in the United States.  The Federal Reserve Cash Product Office part of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, reported“Demand for currency continues to grow domestically and internationally, reflecting U.S. currency’s wide-spread use and its essential function as a means of payment and store of value.”

The ethics of financial inclusion

For financial services businesses, the impact on revenues should be a key consideration. However, enabling financially excluded consumers to access cheap and extensive financial services can have altruistic positives as well.

Financial inclusion has been a key topic on the agenda for governments, regulators, financial services providers, and fintech organizations for several years, as much for its societal benefits as for the potential revenue bringing more consumers into the fold would generate.

Financial inclusion is a broader challenge than simply enabling more citizens to open a bank account; it offers all citizens equal access to the broad spectrum of financial products at the same level of convenience and the same cost.

This level of convenience currently isn’t readily available for cash consumers.

Access to many financial services is restricted or is only accessible through paying significantly higher fees. By addressing the imbalance in the system, financial services providers would increase the potential market size of their products and bring tangible social benefits to people, communities, and even regions.

Online cash solutions: bridging the gap between digital financial services and the cash consumer

eCash solutions bridge the gap between cash customers and access to digital financial services they need and desire.

There are eCash solutions in the market that enable cash consumers to use digital financial products. One example is the eCash partnership between Paysafe and IntelliPay. Consumers using IntelliPay’s online payment page can order a service selecting eCash at checkout and then take the provided barcode either printed or by a mobile device to one of 60,000 convenient payment points to complete the transaction in cash.

In a financial landscape where both the reliance on cash and the growth of digital financial services appear sustainable, eCash is the most practical solution for satisfying these trends.

eCash is easy-to-add, simple to manage

IntelliPay, a leading payment processing company and Paysafe make it easy for financial service providers to add eCash to their payment options. Adding eCash can be as simple as adding a customized and branded payment page at checkout on an existing site. For more complex needs, the IntelliPay team works with an organizations’ internal team to integrate eCash into the existing front and back-end systems for a seamless customer experience. Either way, we stand ready to help provide your business with the payment options that appeal to the largest number of consumers while promoting financial inclusion.