Hardly anyone carries around cash anymore and people rely more and more on credit cards and other methods of payment for everyday purchases.
Many people think we are becoming a cashless society and this is a very realistic and accurate prediction. The biggest concern over converting to a cashless system is the question of security.
The thought of a cashless existence isn’t as far off in the future as you may have imagined, in fact many millennials don’t believe in carrying cash at all and, have embraced a plastic is fantastic future.
These days companies have made it simple to pay via debit cards or credit cards. You can order food online and purchase just about anything your heart desires without touching a single bill. Special sales features in smartphones include innovative payment methods options such as Apple Pay or other contactless payment methods that are there to make your life a little bit easier.
Other forms of cashless methods of payments include cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. If you fast forward a little to the future., there are even plans to implant microchips that can be connected to your preferred bank for the most convenient way to pay. These future plans come with their own set of concerns.
Eliminating physical cash currently in circulation
A truly cashless society would mean eliminating cash from the equation completely. Getting rid of cash in any form, including paper notes and metal coins. Instead, all payments would be made using digital currency and payment forms could include debit cards, credit cards and contactless payment methods.
The main attraction of a cashless society is the convenience factor. This payment method would benefit both consumers and retailers. Consumers could benefit from being able to make purchases even if they are physically out of cash and are waiting for their next paycheck. While retailers would be able to manage their money a lot more easily if all purchases were made digitally. This method would help them cut down on the manpower needed to operate tills and eliminate the stress of reconciling registers.
There is also a great risk when companies need to move around large sums of cash. Moving cash requires a lot of resources such as armoured vehicles and additional security officers to reduce the risk of cash in transit heists. Additional security quickly adds up and increases operating costs.
Access & eligibility
The main concern is how are people going to access this cashless future? All your money would essentially only exists as a bank balance that is connected to your card. This would require a large revamp of the UK banking system to give better access to those that live in remote places and don’t have easy access to traditional banks.
Eliminating cash completely would require everyone to be able to access the internet. This connection would need to be reliable and very secure. Checking your current balance and making purchases would require a constant internet connection and those people living in developing countries could struggle to adapt.
Other concerning factors
Internet connectivity aside, society would also need to remember that not everyone is technically savvy. Special precautions would need to be made for those with physical or mental disabilities or other extenuating circumstances.
Security and privacy would pose as an additional risk factor as electronic payments become more commonplace as breaches and identity theft will become an ever-growing concern. Businesses are constantly improving their security systems and trying to safeguard against theft. Unfortunately, they are always a few steps behind when it comes to tech-savvy fraudsters that are out to steal your hard-earned money.
Digital identification would become very important and accessing your money could require many additional requirements to prove your identity and make sure it is actually you trying to access your funds. Your entire financial history would be easily accessible and there would be a digital record of your purchase preferences and spending habits. Records would include your personal details and provide an in-depth look into your finances.
Governmental control & institutional abuse
A cashless society would mean a loss of control as there would be no alternative currency available. The government would be in complete control of your funds and banks could implement excessive banking fees or impose other economic restrictions. Banks would need to increase their operating costs and these increases would then be passed onto the everyday consumer. Government and banking institutions would have a monopoly on how much they could charge to boost profit margins.
The ultimate risk factor for a cashless society would be an increase in crime, this unpleasant side-effect would see an increase in cybercrime and identity theft. If your details were compromised you could end up losing all your hard-earned money in a matter of minutes with very little recourse on ever getting a penny of it back.
In a perfect world, everyone would be able to participate in a cashless future however, this is not the reality and it would be inevitable that some groups would be left out. This could cause people to create their own black-market system that does not use digital currency. The government would be forced to intervene and implement new laws making physical cash purchases illegal.
Some people think that these laws won’t be necessary as consumers are already opting for cashless payment options and soon cash will fade out on its own accord but only time will tell.