Newsline 9 special report: The way we pay - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Newsline 9 special report: The way we pay


Cash seems to quickly becoming a thing of the past. More and more people swipe their cards for every day purchases. But experts say, pretty soon, even those could look different.

John Cokl is a busy person. From traveling, to buying food, to filling up, his payment method of choice is credit cards.

"Typically I'll use them for every purchase. Big or small, it doesn't really matter," said Cokl.

Cokl is the face of an increasingly cash less society. Last year 27% of all purchases were made with cash. 10 years ago, it was almost triple that. But, according to a new survey, cash sales are expected to drop to 23% by 2017. Meanwhile, credit cards are expected to account for a third of all sales.

"It's extra protection. If my wallet gets stolen I can just cancel my credit cards instead of canceling cash," explained Cokl.

Experts say that extra protection is a big plus.

"It makes it faster, it makes it more competitive. You can't rely on the old way of doing business," said UW-Stevens Point Associate Dean, Gary Mullins.

No one knows that better than Jim Billings. He's the owner of The Final Score Bar & Grill in Stevens Point. For 12 years the pub accepted cash only. But, last October Billings says he had to start accepting plastic.

"It seems this generation really likes to use plastic to pay for this," explained Billings. "But it's been a good thing. People tend to spend more money when they can just charge it so sales have been higher."

So as we adjust to a new retail world where plastic is preferred over paper, what does the future look like?

Gary Mullins says the possibilities of payment are endless.

"There are credit cards nowadays that are being developed where you'll have multiple credit cards on one and then you select which one you want to use," said Mullins.

Researchers say those cards will be even more secure.

"They'll be set up with passwords so if they're stolen, unless the person knows your password they can't use it."

Another idea? Researchers say another big advancement is using technology that's already in your pocket.

"You have phone technology where you use your phone or pad to make the purchase," added Mullins.

But not everyone is on board. Melissa Linzmeier doesn't own a credit card, never has.

"I was just raised that way. If you didn't have cash you didn't need it," explained Linzmeier.

So is she out of luck? Probably not. Employees at People's State Bank in Wausau say paper money will never be phased out completely.

"People like that they can physically touch that money and when it's gone it's gone, versus a piece of plastic," said COO Leif Christianson.

But times are changing and new technology looks to continue to throw new twists into the way we pay.

Check out some of the latest credit cards here:

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