Today's younger generation will trade in their cash, credit cards and cheques for mobile digital wallets by 2016, new research claims.
Children born today will be Britain's first "cashless generation" and will frequently use their smartphones in exchange for goods and services, according to a report by the research company Forrester for the e-commerce site PayPal.
The survey, based on interviews with ten senior executives from major UK businesses with a combined turnover of £85 billion in 2010, identified 2016 as the year that the "digital switchover" will take place on the high street.
From those interviewed, nine out of ten said they believed that mobile payments will be accepted within four years, while half of those interviewed said the development could happen in three years.
The firm predicts that consumers will trade in cash, credit cards and cheques for mobile wallets as soon as 2016, when mass adoption of mobile payment technology is expected to take place.
Commenting on the digital switchover, PayPal UK managing director Carl Scheible said: "We'll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things.
"By 2016, you'll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as a 21st-century digital wallet."
Orange and Barclaycard launched the Quick Tap contactless mobile payment service earlier this year. The near field communication system allows consumers to have their handsets enabled to make purchases in more than 50,000 shops.