The World is going paper-less
Evolution stops at nothing. Not even for the complex world of money. Some countries around the world are starting to experiment with going cashless, like Sweden – which had only 1% of cash transactions in 2016. That is a pretty big deal don’t you think? For me, I could not imagine living in a place where most people refuse to take cash as payment!
But as the world advances each passing day, becoming more environmentally conscious, we are coming closer and closer to a cashless world. While there are lots of incentives to do so in going cashless, there are also some drawbacks. I will discuss the good and bad below.
Let’s begin with the most obvious one – no cash! A big “selling point” of a cashless society is that you don’t need to carry a big fat wallet, especially if you are a high roller. Using Digital Wallets and Virtual Cards eliminates that hassle and a lot of people are starting to see the advantages and value that they provide (myself included).
Going cashless also benefits banks. It saves them time because the transactions are faster than traditional methods, it saves them money because you need to store all that cash in a safe and you have to invest in security – cameras, bodyguards, vaults, and other protection systems. Eventually, the money will be nothing more than digits on a screen – there will be no physical money.
Removing cash from our daily lives will make money counterfeiting, laundering, theft, and other crimes almost impossible. Due to the current pandemic, it has helped accelerate our transition to a cashless society. By doing online transactions, there is always a paper (no pun intended) trail left to track, making it easier for the criminal to get caught. Banks are all on board with this and they are pushing everyone to use online banking as much as possible.
Now let’s discuss the negatives of going cashless. The biggest concern for most people is security – we have to trust the institutions that they will have our best interests in mind and have top tier protection against hackers.
If your funds get stolen and your account breached in a cashless society you might be left with no funds to cover your expenses – imagine not being able to pay rent, food, bills, and that monthly payment for your new 2020 Dodge Charger! Oh, the humanity!
A big issue that is somewhat rare but it’s a pain in the behind if you come across is – the POS terminal does not work! Just today I went to grab lunch on my break. I ordered the usual, nothing too fancy. I waited in line to pay for my food and I noticed that the person in front of me had issues paying.
The POS terminal refused to work (I thought his card was just frozen), he said he will come back later to pay with cash. The worker was not worried since there is an ATM outside. So, it was my turn to pay, and wouldn’t you know it – it did not allow me to pay either. When that happened it was as if time stopped for me, realizing I might not be able to pay my meal.
Luckily, I withdrew some cash a few days ago so I paid up. After l left, I realized how vulnerable you are in a cashless society if the POS terminal just goes derp!
If you are the Digital Wallet type and you are used to paying everything with it, you may become stranded if your battery runs out. I could not imagine the horror on someone’s face, especially if they are stranded somewhere!
As I mentioned above, going completely digital and abandoning cash will allow powerful institutions to monitor every digital move which could be quite unsettling for some people. It’s understandable – nobody likes being constantly watched (I’m looking at you Zuckerberg). We are not still there yet, most people are not willing to give up their privacy … yet.
What to expect in the upcoming future?
Even as I said at the beginning of this piece that we are moving further away from cash, not everyone is in the same boat. Our old pal Sweden is at it again – despite a large portion of the country‘s population embracing a cashless society, some have rebelled against it.
Some detractors point out that it is going to be very difficult for the elderly to adjust to this new world when they have spent the majority of their lives dealing with paper money. And I do agree because that is a valid concern.
According to data, the United Kingdom will be cashless by 2030. That sounds like a very distant prediction for the future, but it is closer than we think. Banks and government institutions will help accelerate the transition to a paperless society because of the world pandemic and also to give them more control and power over our lives.
As the old saying goes – Cash is King. But in these crazy times, we live in, I will change it to this – Cash WAS King. And every king has his reign, and then he dies.0