Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The primary functions which distinguish money are as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value and sometimes, a standard of deferred payment.
Guess what hard currency is going to disappear, and it's not a good thing.
In a cashless society, financial transactions are not conducted with physical banknotes or coins, but instead with digital information (usually an electronic representation of money). Cashless societies have existed from the time when human society came into existence, based on barter and other methods of exchange, and cashless transactions have also become possible in modern times using credit cards, debit cards, mobile payments, and digital currencies such as bitcoin. However, this article focuses on the term "cashless society" in the sense of a move towards a society in which cash is replaced by its digital equivalent—in other words, legal tender (money) exists, is recorded, and is exchanged only in electronic digital form.
Why on earth would you put your trust in this? It's another control function to keep you and your money in it's place. Just imagine that you have $150,000 in the bank....you actually don't, because the bank doesn't really have it. In the event of a financial or even a technology crash, KISS YOUR CASH GOODBYE!
And this is why I don't advocate for a cashless society:
Bad for privacy. When you pay cash, there is no middleman; you pay, you receive goods or services — end of story. When a middleman becomes part of the transaction, that middleman often gets to learn about the transaction — and under our weak privacy laws, has a lot of leeway to use that information as it sees fit. (Cash transactions of more than $10,000 must be reported to the government).
Bad for low-income communities. Participation in a cashless society presumes a level of financial stability and enmeshment in bureaucratic financial systems that many people simply do not possess. Opening a bank account requires an ID, which many poor and elderly people lack, as well as other documents such as a utility bill or other proof of address, which the homeless lack, and which generally create bureaucratic barriers to participating in electronic payment networks. Banks also charge fees that can be significant for people living on the economic margins. According to government data from 2017, about one in 15 U.S. households (6.5%) were “unbanked” (had no checking or savings account), while almost one in five (18.7%) were “underbanked” (had a bank account but resorted to using money orders, check cashing, or payday loans). Finally, because merchants usually pass along the cost of credit card fees to all their customers through their prices, the current credit card system effectively serves to transfer money from poor households to high-income households, according to a study by the Federal Reserve.
Bad for people of color. The burden of lack of access to banking services such as credit cards does not fall equally. While 84% of white people in 2017 were what the Federal Reserve calls “fully banked,” only 52% of Black and 63% of Hispanic people were.
Bad for the undocumented. Facing a lack of official identity documents, not to mention all the other obstacles mentioned above, undocumented immigrants can have an even harder time accessing banking services.
Bad for many merchants. Merchants pay roughly 2-3% of every transaction to the credit card companies, which can be a significant “tax,” especially on low-margin businesses. With the credit card sector dominated by an oligopoly of 2-3 companies, there is not enough competition to keep these “swipe fees” low. Big companies have the leverage to negotiate lower fees, but small merchants are out of luck, and the amount that they pay to the credit card companies is often greater than their profit. If cashless stores are allowed to become widespread, that will harm the many merchants who either discourage or flat-out refuse to accept credit cards due to these fees.
Less resilient. The nationwide outage of electronic cash registers at Target stores several weeks ago left customers unable to make purchases — except those who had cash. That’s a reminder that electronic payments systems can mean centralized points of failure — not just technical failures like Target’s, but also security failures. A cashless society would also leave people more susceptible to economic failure on an individual basis: if a hacker, bureaucratic error, or natural disaster shuts a consumer out of their account, the lack of a cash option would leave them few alternatives.
The issue goes beyond restaurants and retail stores; other services that are built around electronic payments should also offer cash options (or cash-like anonymous stored value cards). Those include ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, bike and scooter share systems, and transit systems. In San Francisco, for example, the city’s bike-share program is providing an option to pay with cash. In DC, where I live, the Metro requires a smart card to use — but riders have the option to either register their card so that they can cancel it if it’s lost or stolen, or buy it with cash and not register it to keep it more private.
Proponents of non-cash payment systems point to one of the biggest downsides of cash: the risk of loss or theft. That security risk is real, and we’re certainly not going to tell anybody they should always use cash, especially for large purchases. That said, the security considerations are not one-sided. The harms that can result from privacy invasions (abuses, profiling, embarrassment, financial losses, etc.) should also be included in the concept of “security,” properly conceived. And payment networks have security risks that cash does not; ask anybody who has experienced identity theft and was forced to wrangle with a nightmare mix of credit card companies, debt collectors, credit scoring agencies, and others.
My company doesn't take credit cards or cheques, cash please...makes my life a lot simpler. And guess what, do a little traveling and you will find cash is really still KING!
Anyway that's my rant to close out the week. Have fun, enjoy the sun, be kind to others!