While many consumers have long turned to debit cards to conduct their sales transactions, it seemed like the pandemic took cashless payments to another level. For many businesses, the pandemic forced them to say goodbye to handling cash to only accept cashless payment forms. With an emphasis on hygiene and social distancing, cashless payments just made sense. But even as the pandemic is becoming a thing of the past, many businesses are choosing to keep this new form of payment.
Not only that, but many apps have now accelerated what seems to be a move to a cashless society. With options like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and the like, there are so many ways to receive cashless payments.
So, is it possible that all the hype around apps and hygiene and social distancing could cause your cash to be a thing of the past? There are many cases for and against cash in today’s society. Let’s share what we know.
The Case Against Cash
Although cash costs nothing to print, some say it may cost more than it benefits.
The Rise of Digital Payment Methods
It’s incredibly convenient these days to transfer your cash and make payments. Society has moved far beyond direct deposits and debit and credit cards. With systems like Zelle and PayPal that allow you to transfer money instantly to anyone, and apps like Cash App and Venmo, Apple Pay, etc., people can no longer use the excuse “I don’t have cash on me” as a reason to not pay. The Salvation Army has even upgraded to digital platforms for accepting donations, so telling them at Christmas time that you don’t have cash is no longer an excuse not to donate.
Cash and Its Association With Crime
Some say that elimination of cash would be suitable for impairing criminal activity. Cash (and large portions of it) has long been associated with drug-related crimes, money laundering, and tax evasion. In fact, tax evasion alone costs the U.S. government nearly $500 billion a year, and that number is only going up.
Elimination of Jobs
With so many apps and online platforms doing what traditional banks were created to do, eliminating cash would also eliminate jobs. If more people decide they have little need for the traditional bank where one-on-one service is the driving factor, we may see fewer banks in our neighborhoods. Financial institutions utilize humans to provide top customer service and to handle the cash in their possession. No robot or AI system can replace a human connection, can they? We’re already seeing a need for fewer tellers in grocery stores with self-checkout registers. Is it possible the same could happen to bank tellers?
What Keeps Cash King
While many feel the country is ready for a cashless society based on our technological advances, others still deem cash king and say these are the reasons cash will always be around.
Cash Benefits The Poor
Not everyone in America has a relationship with banks and the digital streams that have become popular with middle-income workers and wealthy households. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reports that 7% or roughly one million households have no relationship with banks. They are classified as “unbanked.” FDIC also determined that an additional 19.9% or roughly 24.5 million households were “underbanked,” meaning, although they had a checking or savings account, they acquired financial products and services in places other than the banking system. Many people labeled as “poor” in America can’t afford the bank fees. Neither can they afford access to credit and other sources as others.
In addition, a Pew Research Center study found that 7% of Americans don’t use the Internet. Many of these individuals make up our elderly and those who live in rural areas. Are we ready to exclude so many individuals from participating in the full economy?
Helps to Win Over Identify Theft
Another thing about cash is that it helps to protect individuals from identity theft. About one in 16 people have been victims of identity theft. This is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, but it may not have gained so much traction without the help of digital and online banking methods. Many say the best way to avoid identity theft is to always pay with cash. Cash leaves no paper trail (just another reason why crime lords depend on it) and adds privacy to your transactions. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to infiltrate your financial history or steal your identity.
Are You Ready for A Cashless Society?
While there are sources that say that the move to a cashless society is right around the corner, others dispute that and say that cash will always be king. Whether it be debit or credit cards, contactless payments, or mobile payments, the world is undoubtedly getting closer to using fewer cash transactions. Are you ready?
How To Be Ready for A Cashless Society
Many apps and tools exist to keep you in the current century, from money management to online bank accounts. If you’ve been leery of trying an existing app, maybe you should consider making a move toward at least one of them. You never know when it will come in handy.
- Cash App
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
The Bottom Line
The world has come a long way over the past decade when it comes to how we handle simple transactions. No one ever imagined a pandemic, but then it came, and the world was not ready. We’ve since learned the importance of forward-thinking and getting ahead of what’s to come. Want to be a step ahead of the cashless society? Consider broadening your thinking on some of the best apps out there.