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Digital payments forecast: 726 billion transactions a year by 2020, study says

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Craig Johnson, Clark.com

As technology continues to seep into almost every aspect of our lives, the use of digital payments is set to grow exponentially in the next few years, new research shows. The findings indicate that there’s no stopping the non-cash payment movement as consumers adopt new technology.

Emerging markets will lead the growth of digital transactions, according to research by consultant Capgemini and bank BNP Paribas, CNBC reports.

“Non-cash payments have increased in volume due to the rise in adoption of digital payment services across all market segments,” Christophe Vergne, cards and payment practice leader at Capgemini. Vergne said that what’s interesting is that people are digitally paying for less costly items, a clear sign of market adoption.

Study: Consumers on track for 726 billion digital transactions by 2020

“Curiously, though the number of transactions continues to rise at a rapid rate, the average USD value per transaction has decreased slightly, as digital establishes itself as a growing rival to cash for low cost purchases,” Vergne said.

In recent years, contactless payments, in which consumers purchase items via debit or credit card by waving it near a sensor — sometimes called “tap-and-go” or “wave-to-pay” payments — have become standard in many places of business. Just five years ago, though, such purchases accounted for less than 10% from cards in circulation.

But, oh, have things changed. Tap-and-go payments, facilitated by cellphone apps and other mobile wallet payments were used in more than 1.3 billion transactions in the U.S. in 2015, according to a report by Fis, a financial technology solutions company.

Federal Reserve report in 2016 showed that debit cards were responsible for 69.5 billion non-cash transactions, followed by credit cards (33.8 billion), checks (17.3 billion) and Automated Clearing House checks (9.9 billion), which is the network used for wire transfers and similar electronic payments.

With digital transactions on the rise, you’d think your personal data would be more in your control, right? Not necessarily. Thieves are on the prowl like never before in an attempt to steal your info.

How to protect your digital accounts

One way to protect your digital accounts is by using two-factor authentication, or 2FA. With two-factor authentication, you would log in via your username/password to complete step one. The second step would be to have a call or text containing a temporary code sent to your phone.

The thought behind 2FA is that hackers who use complex password breakers may be able to access your password, but because of the second step, they would still be locked out of your account.

RELATED: A strong password is no longer enough

As smartphones have soared in popularity, consumers have gotten lax in safeguarding their personal and sensitive information. To help consumers, the Better Business Bureau recently launched the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign to encourage people to use two-factor authentication for their accounts.

RELATED: Why two-step authentication is the way to go

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