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 Teran 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.