The Pay Off: How Changing the Way We Pay Changes Everything

The Pay Off: How Changing the Way We Pay Changes Everything

By: Natasha de Terán, Gottfried Leibbrandt

ISBN: 9781783966066
eBook ISBN: 9781783966073
Cover: Hardback
Published: July 1, 2021
Size: 234x156mm
Page Count: 320


”Admirably lucid” – Gillian Tett, FT

“What happens when we make a payment is literally a multi-billion dollar question. This is a fascinating and entertaining insight into those seconds between clicking a button and money appearing in far-off accounts – and the changing face of those who profit.” – Dharshini David, author of The Almighty Dollar

How we pay is so fundamental that it underpins everything – from trade to taxation, stocks and savings to salaries, pensions and pocket money. Rich or poor, criminal, communist or capitalist, we all rely on the same payments system, day in, day out. It sits between us and not just economic meltdown, but a total breakdown in law and order. Why then do we know so little about how it really works?

As you read this, technology is dismantling payment barriers and governments are erecting them; cash is on the way out, and crypto and BigTech are fighting their way in. The Europeans are heavily regulated, the Americans oddly backward, and the Chinese hoping to lead the way forward. Challenging our understanding about where financial power really lies, The Pay Off shows us that the most important thing about money is the way we move it.

Leibbrandt and De Terán shine a light on the hidden workings of the humble payment – and reveal both how our payment habits are determined by history as well as where we go from here. From national customs to warring nation states, geopolitics will shape the future of payments every bit as much as technology.

  • “An excellent and important book. Payments are transforming our society and our lives, and yet few people understand what’s driving the change, or what the consequences could be, for good or ill. Hugely engaging and accessible, “The Pay Off” demystifies this critical subject for the layperson and policy makers alike”

    - Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair, Access to Cash review
  • “What happens when we make a payment is literally a multi-billion dollar question. This is a fascinating and entertaining insight into those seconds between clicking a button and money appearing in far-off accounts – and the changing face of those who profit.”


    - Dharshini David, author of The Almighty Dollar
  • “The world of payments is complex and confusing, but hugely important. The authors have produced a comprehensive, authoritative and even, at times, amusing, guide. I have read nothing better on a subject which increasingly preoccupies both commercial and central banks.”


    - Howard Davies, Chairman of the NatWest group, and former chairman of the FSA
  • The Pay Off sounds like a thriller and it reads like one. The authors succeed in demonstrating ‘networks are an inexhaustibly interesting subject’ with wit and panache.  The book was written with a twinkle in the eye and brought a twinkle to mine. Accessible and erudite, entertaining and enriching, The Pay Off delivers.


    - Tim Frost, former director of the Bank of England and chair of Cairn Capital
  • “The global payment system is the biggest thing that people generally know nothing about. The authors have managed to explain it in a way which is both engaging and intriguing, and it is hard to imagine anyone, from financial professional to general reader, not finding it fascinating. As technology begins to revolutionise payments, this book has never been more sorely needed.”


    - Simon Gleeson, author of The Legal Concept of Money
  • “The Pay Off will change the way we read and think about payments. Fascinating, thrilling, intriguing and well written, with deep inside knowledge and understanding of the world of payments, Gottfried and Natasha are taking us to a future with endless possibilities never losing sight of possible risks and wrong turns.”


    - Jochen Metzger, Payments Executive, Frankfurt am Main
  • Whenever you buy or sell something, you use a payments system but, do you ever wonder how that system works? It’s like plumbing or electricity maybe, but it is actually far more complex as it is changing fast thanks to technology. You used to pay with cash, then with a click, now with a swipe or with a touch. What’s next? How does all of this work? The Pay Off provides a wonderful deep-dive into the subject […]. In this book, you find so many useful insights about the past, present and future of payments that anyone who is vaguely interested in the politics, economics and world of finance should pick it up and read it. NOW!”

    - Chris Skinner, author, commentator and troublemaker
  • Lucid and stimulating – this book sheds light on the scale [and pace] of the digital-money revolution that we are living through”


    - Huw van Steenis, author Bank of England Future of Finance report [or Chair Sustainable Finance UBS]
  • “An accessible, thorough primer on the money technologies that make our world go round but few really people understand”


    - Lana Swartz, author of New Money: How Payment Became Social Media
  • “Payments are the most important things most people have probably never even thought about. Banks, tech companies, Central Banks, crypto firms and crooks all know that if you control payments, you may also control critical data and ultimately the world. The Pay Off cleverly dissects the workings and future of this geopolitical and technological war. A must read for anyone in business.”

    - Bob Wigley, Chair, UK Finance, and author of Born Digital: The Story of a Distracted Generation
  • “a long overdue, highly readable and authoritative account of the uses and occasional abuses of the systems on which we all rely, and how they are still rapidly changing, that both specialists and the general reader will find informative and entertaining.”

    - Mark Yallop, Chair, FICC Markets Standards Board, Former External Member, Prudential Regulatory Committee at the Bank of England, Former External Member, Financial Market Infrastructure Board at the Bank of England
  • A really interesting book, going through the history of how we have paid for things in the past, as well as looking at how payments could change in the future. If you have never thought about the plumbing system that guides all our payments to the places they need to reach, then this may be an eye-opener


    - Baroness Ros Altmann, life peer and political campaigner on pensions
  • The Pay Off is excellent reading”

    - Professor Alistair Milne