What does the future hold for us as spenders and savers? In the past 30 years, the way in which we bank and use money has changed dramatically. But while the pace of change has started to slow, there are still exciting times ahead, reckon future-gazers .
In 1986, when The Independent was launched, few could have anticipated that in paying for goods and services, we would one day be able to "tap and go" simply by brandishing a piece of plastic or, even more outlandishly, something called a mobile phone.
The internet has changed the way in which most of us bank and spend, and the "millennial" generation takes such convenience for granted. But that won't do for people coming of age in "Generation Z"; born in the mid 1990s, they will almost certainly soon be embracing the internet of things – a technology that will let gadgets talk to each other.
Gadgets and tech news in pictures
Gadgets and tech news in pictures
1/23 Bring broken smartphone back to life - as a robot
Do you have an old broken smartphone lying around the house somewhere? Then why not turn it into a robot? That's exactly what YouTuber Mehdi Sadaghdar did in a recent video, after his efforts to bring a destroyed phone back to life disastrously failed. Using the phone's vibrator, a coin battery, a simple switch, a few wires and the bristly part of a toothbrush, he managed to make a simple little toy that can skitter around a tabletop as long as the battery last
2/23 Detachable plane cabin
A Ukrainian inventor has proposed building airliners with detachable passenger cabins that could separate from the rest of the plane and parachute safely to the ground in the event of an emergency
3/23 FA announces it will host the Emirates FA Cup video game tournament
The FA has announced that for the first time ever it will host the inaugural Emirates FA Cup gaming tournament, with video game fans from across the world invited to compete for glory at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. Early rounds will take place in iconic locations in the stadium such as The Royal Box, the changing rooms and the players’ tunnel, with the two finalists set to play the virtual final using Wembley Stadium’s 82 foot screens as they sit in the centre circle. Gamers of varying ability will descend upon Wembley Stadium as the home of football transforms into an epic gaming colosseum set to turn heads and sweat palms in equal measure
4/23 Oculus Rift release date
Oculus has said that it is about to open pre-orders for its Rift virtual reality headset. Some have claimed that the hardware will be the device that will bring virtual reality into the mainstream. And it will start being available from 6 January 2016, the company has said. The company hasn’t said when the headsets will actually start arriving, or how much they will cost. It isn’t clear whether the company intends to announce more details before pre-orders begin
5/23 iPhone stock apps can be removed by just putting them into special folder
A new trick shows a quick way of getting rid of the stock apps that might be cluttering up your iPhone screen — at least for a while. The iPhone comes with a range of apps that are stuck on the phone, and can't be deleted like others. While some are key to the phone — like the Phone app itself — others like Stocks are less well-regarded. But the new trick shows how you can hide those unused stock apps with just a quick trick using some folders
6/23 CES 2016: Four big things set to be revealed
The CES 2016 gadget show is about to kick off, and nearly the entire technology industry has descended on Las Vegas to try and show off the future. Every year, companies and technologists attempt to show that they have seen what’s coming and that they will be there to offer it. Every year, a lot of people get it wrong. This year’s expectations are as big as ever. Every year, CES unofficially gets a big theme that everything’s supposed to be about — this year that’s virtual reality. There is also future for cars, smart home and wearables
7/23 Terrorists could use drones to attack planes and spread propaganda
A government counter-terrorism adviser has warned that terrorists could use commercially available drones to attack passenger planes. Detective Chief Inspector Colin Smith, a security expert and adviser to the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology, warned that small quadcopter drones could easily be used by terrorists for attacks and propaganda purposes
8/23 Goggle-Eyed Lemurs watch TV as part of their reintroduction to the wild
Port Lympne Reserve in Kent, UK, has installed Sony Bravia 4K TVs into its lemur and langur enclosures to show life-like footage to its primates as part of its ‘Back to the Wild’ programme. The charity will trial TV watching on Sony’s 4K TVs as part of this programme in a bid to make langurs more familiar with the new environment
Uber has added a lift-sharing feature to its app in London, allowing people to share their taxi with a stranger in return for a reduced fair. Users will be given 25 per cent off their journey if they say they will let up to two other passengers share their car. Drivers will then receive a message telling them that they’ll be picking up more than one fare, and can plan their route accordingly. London is the second European country to get the feature, after Paris. It was first launched in San Francisco and now most people who use the app do so with the feature
10/23 Attempt to build world’s biggest Rubik’s cube ends in disaster
An attempt to build the world’s biggest Rubik’s cube ended in disaster when the puzzle exploded as it was turned for the first time. One of the masterminds behind Coren Puzzle, a YouTube channel dedicated to custom puzzles, live-streamed the final assembly of the 22x22 cube. The video was the culmination of seven months of construction, which included a month of deliberation on how to build the mechanism at the centre of the device
11/23 New battery chip could let phones charge in minutes
The maker of a new chip claims that it could reduce the charging times of phones to a few minutes, and could prevent dangerous explosions. The tiny chip could be embedded into batteries of all sizes and monitor how healthy and charged they are. That in turn would mean that the batteries would become much safer and quicker to charge, according to the scientist that developed it. Unhealthy lithium-ion batteries can be at risk of exploding or catching fire, as well as gradually losing their capacity so that they run out more quickly. Those problems may become even more important as people move towards electric cars or other vehicles
12/23 Facebook on iPhone gets new fast-loading Instant Articles
If you've noticed articles on Facebook loading a little quicker recently, that's because the new Instant Articles have been launched to all iPhone users. Instant Articles load up to 10 times quicker than a regular article, and have some enriched features - such as unobtrusive autoplay videos, zoomable high-definition images and interactive maps
13/23 Halo 5 patch
Gamers looking forward to playing Halo 5: Guardians on its release on 27 October 2015 will have to wait to download a 9GB day one patch before the game's multiplayer mode can run properly. Those without the patch won't even be able to play multiplayer at all until it's downloaded, in yet another case of a blockbuster game needing a patch on the day of launch
14/23 New HTC Desire 626 handset launch
HTC has launched its latest Desire 626 handset with the Sense 7 software which automatically detects whether you’re at work, at home or on-the-go and alters its theme to suit your location. This advanced technology intelligently analyses your favourite photos to modify the look and feel of your apps, allowing you to modify the colour scheme and backgrounds – the ultimate in personalisation
15/23 Nasa confirms Mars water discovery
Nasa has announced that it has found evidence of flowing water on Mars. Scientists have long speculated that Recurring Slope Lineae — or dark patches — on Mars were made up of briny water but the new findings prove that those patches are caused by liquid water, which it has established by finding hydrated salts.
16/23 Customers wait in line at the Apple Store in Paris to get their hands on the iPhone 6s
Several hundred camped outside the London store in Covent Garden. The 6s will have new features like a vastly improved camera and a pressure-sensitive “3D Touch” display
17/23 Bloodhound SSC: The most powerful ever made is shown off to the public
The car is displayed at Downing Street, when the team visited David Cameron to demonstrate the project
18/23 Lunar eclipse threatens Nasa technology
Artist's rendering of Nasa's LRO spacecraft, which will have to withstand a rapid drop in temperature during an upcoming lunar eclipse that could lead to it shutting down
19/23 Mobile phone bills could rocket up after Ofcom announced that the fees it charges to phone operators will be trebled
The regulator will now charge far more to phone companies for using the mobile spectrum — and though it says that fee will not be passed on to customers, experts have said that prices are likely to go up
20/23 New iPhone 6s rose gold
Apple has released a bright pink new iPhone 6s — likely the only way that you’ll be able to tell that someone has the new handset. The company released the new phone with much fanfare, but almost all of the changes — a new camera and pressure-sensitive display — were on the inside. The only new noticeable addition to the phone’s look is the very pink rose gold colour, and a tiny “S” on the back. The new handsets will be released on September 25
21/23 iPad Pro
Apple has launched a huge new iPad, which it hopes can bring the tablet to offices and designers. But it unveiled it with an Apple-designed stylus — an idea that was famously mocked by late Apple founder Steve Jobs
22/23 Apple TV
Apple has introduced the new Apple TV
23/23 Apple Pencil
Apple has introduced the new Apple Pencil
Sounds frightening? I'm assured they won't be plotting to overthrow humans but will talk to each other with the sole aim of making our lives easier. So our fridges will tell our phones to order fresh groceries when stocks are low, and our cars will tell our heating systems to warm up the home when we're a few minutes away.
I experienced a little of this in Dublin this week when I visited MasterCard Labs. The centre is one of the company's eight innovation hubs across the world, focusing, MasterCard says, on fresh ideas to improve customers' lives – or at least make it easier for them to spend money.
Garry Lyons, the company's chief innovation officer, is very enthusiastic about the changes ahead. When we met, he had three items of wearable technology on his person and soon produced a fourth – a garish ring that is linked to a phone and glows in different colours according to who's calling. It can also be used to tap and pay and is one of thousands of ideas considered by the lab every year.
"This isn't actually my style," he said of the ring, but he beamed proudly when displaying his wristband. It uses the throb of his own heartbeat as an identifier, rather than making him remember passwords or PINs. That certainly piques my interest - remembering passwords is a pain.
"It's part of a range of new wearables we're looking at," Mr Lyons said. "We know that people have trouble remembering passwords, and using biometrics can help avoid needing to remember a complicated series of letters and numbers."
The wristband uses electrocardiograms to measure your heart rate, and when you pay, it transmits a signal to a till to verify your identity. Your electrocardiogram reading is unique, so if someone else takes your wristband, they won't be able to use it
This summer the company is also launching "selfie pay" in the UK; it will allow you to take a picture of yourself to verify your identity. Fingerprints are already being used for the same purpose and further ahead is iris technology.
All the big financial companies are striving to use biometrics to make banking easier. Anthony Thompson, the man behind Metro Bank and the soon-to-launch online bank Atom, said: "In the future you won't have to remember your own name to bank with us. You'll be your own unique PIN code."
The future is digital, with technology driving better ways to manage our money and even financial advice increasingly being delivered by artificial intelligence. The drawback is that if you're not plugged in, you'll miss out, raising the prospect of a two-tier economy of digital "haves" and "have nots". Except it's not just a prospect: millions already have to pay a premium if they can't or won't pay bills automatically.
The way we were: 30 years of change
The year in which The Independent was launched, 1986, marked a revolution in high-street finance as well as the newspaper industry. For the first time banks were allowed to sell mortgages, which revolutionised the way in which home loans were sold as real competition entered the equation for the first time.
Back then – incredibly, it seems now – we were still three years away from the launch of the UK's first telephone bank, First Direct.
And then 1990 marked the peak year of cheque use, with more than 11 million written each day. Remember cheques? Most millennials won't even have any idea where their chequebook is now. In fact, cheque use has slumped by more than 75 per cent since 1990.
Meanwhile debit cards are, surprisingly, younger than The Independent. The first didn't appear until 1987 when Barclays launched its Connect card. The new breed of flexible plastic soon swallowed up the old cheque guarantee cards.
By 1997 the Nationwide was offering the first internet banking service and in 2003 came chip and pin cards, followed in 2007 by contactless.