Do you use your card to pay for everything nowadays? Can you even remember the last time you felt the jingle of coins in your pocket? Society is swiftly and silently embracing a cashless way of functioning, but who can adapt well, and who will be left behind?
Without cash hold ups at shops or cash machines and street muggings will become obsolete. Stealing a card will leave a paper trail that can easily track the thief which banks can look at to dispense insurance. Tax evaders and money launderers will have trouble hiding their movements with an automatic paper trail due to everything going through a secure card, with the card being replaceable and quickly made redundant when its lost or stolen. Organized crime will also go down due to their reliance on cash to make transactions in drug or people trafficking.
The reliance on the internet, software, and hardware may create a certain level of unease among certain people. However, the general trajectory of cyber security and development of blockchain offers reassurance that the infrastructure will be secure and safe.
Convenience and Speed
With the introduction of smart card technology and digital wallets into day-to-day life, transactions are made quicker and less stressful. No counting coins, remembering to bring cash, or stopping by the bank to withdraw cash.
Online shopping, obviously, embraces online digital payments wholeheartedly. It has facilitated this move towards cashlessness. PayPal, Apple Pay, and other products are all household names and default payment methods. Their transition into physical stores isn’t a surprise, as many consumers demand seamless experiences. Apple Pay’s removal of the upper limit is indicative of this, despite many bank cards providing those limits. Amazon’s Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores are also leaning into this technology and consumer trend: both are cashier-less. It’s convenient having what you need in one place.
While on holiday, going cashless will mean that there is better security – for those reasons above – and will mean that there is less need to convert cash between currencies, which is especially helpful when moving between countries that have different currencies. The downside is that using contactless payments with your bank cards abroad can incur transaction costs, though – there is still room to grow, then, in this area. However, tourists are able to take advantage of the most current exchange rates, which may prove valuable.
Businesses will also benefit from the convenience and speed of a cashless approach because there will be less money spent on securing the cash and less time given to withdrawing and organise that cash. Emphasis will have to be given to (and spent on) the digital infrastructure, of course.
Given the world-wide pandemic, people are now very aware of how fast and efficient germs are at spreading. We’ve adapted to more handwashing and mask wearing, but how many hands to bank notes transfer through, picking up potential viruses on the way. Nowadays, many shops are banning the use of cash along with their post-Covid regulations. Additionally, the creation of Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh mean there is less face-to-face contact, removing this fear entirely.
Published by Tom Clark