The pioneers of the internet predicted easy payments of small amounts would happen routinely online. In fact, the term was first coined in the 1960s.
Micropayments (defined as involving sums amounts of anything below $20 and in certain use cases much less than $1 down to fractions of a cent) promise to create new opportunities for novel business models and peer-to-peer payments, with potentially far-reaching implications.
They could change the world of work, enabling payment by the minute or the second for work. They could replace subscription fees, enabling users to pay for the exact amount of services they consume – tipping bloggers, musicians, artists, and other media or content creators.
Micropayments could even usher in an era of machine-to-machine payments, via the internet of things (IoT). Governments and insurers could introduce them to create much more granular insurance products (some fintech innovators are working on insurances per journey, for example) or for taxation, such as metering road use.