Contactless payments are poised to radically change the landscape for businesses and consumers across Europe, according to the CEO of Visa Europe.
Known as "wave and pay" or "tap and go," cashless and contactless payments are a way of paying for everyday items like a newspaper or a cup of coffee simply by swiping your card, or increasingly your cell phone, across a reader.
The concept is built around saving time for the user, so they don't need to rummage around in pockets or bags for wallets and purses.
Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe, predicts the fast-paced movement of the technology around cashless payments will overtake more conventional methods in the next decade.
"I've made this prediction that by 2020, more than 50% of our transactions are going to be on mobile phones," he said.
"For 50 years we've had the piece of plastic. OK, it's developed, it's been more secure, we've added features to it and everything else, but for 50 years I've carried a piece of plastic around.
"Now, suddenly, I've realized that in the future, I don't have to have that piece of plastic, it's on this wonderful smartphone. So radically that changes your thinking."
Ayliffe says that in future other ways of paying may give way to the phone as the payment method of choice.
"We'll never go cashless, because people will always choose how they want to pay. If they want to pay by cash, if they want to pay by card in the future, that's absolutely fine with me.
"But what we're trying to do, is say: 'There's a much more convenient way to pay.'"