A cashless society is an economic situation in which financial transactions are carried out without the use of physical money in the form of banknotes or coins, but rather through the exchange of digital information (typically an electronic representation of money) between the parties involved. Cashless civilizations have existed since the dawn of human civilization, based on barter and other forms of exchange, and cashless transactions are now feasible utilizing credit cards, debit cards, mobile payments, and digital currencies such as bitcoin.
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Numbers play an important role in how we interpret information and make decisions. So, let’s take a look at some key figures. The European Central Bank indicates that “the total number of non-cash payments in the euro area increased by 8.1% to 98.0 billion in 2019 compared to the previous year, with a total value of €162.1 trillion.” However, does this mean that the role of “cash as king” is declining and that we’re moving towards a cashless and what exactly is a cashless society? How does it all work?
Cash is still the predominant method of payment in most European countries”, but its proportion among retail payments is on the decline. Since the euro was introduced as a currency, the Eurozone has seen a dramatic increase in the use of cash. Given this contradictory picture as it relates to the use of cash and digital payments, where is the world headed in terms of achieving cashless societies? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a cashless society?
Some see a cashless society as our new future, describing it as a “economic phenomena in which financial transactions are carried out electronically” rather than with banknotes and coins. In a cashless society, each group may have its own electronic card or device that is used to process and finish transactions. Credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, Point of Sale (POS), Internet banking, and mobile banking are all examples of cashless transactions in the real world.
8 types of cashless payments
Cashless payments can come in many forms and varieties, with different types of hard- and software. Here are a few examples:
Consumers can make cashless payments using prepaid debit and credit cards, for example. These cards usually have a magnetic stripe, a chip, and other distinguishing physical features. They provide users with convenience, payment flexibility, speed, and security. Visa and Mastercard are two of the most well-known global card issuers, and you can use their debit and credit cards to make purchases in-store at a POS terminal or online at a variety of online stores.
A consumer makes a contactless payment by tapping or hovering their card or smart device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, against a POS terminal, bypassing any physical contact between buyer and seller. They can also be used in conjunction with mobile phones that feature payment-accepting applications. Near Field Communication (NFC) and RFID technology are used in such contactless payments.
A user can transfer, receive, and keep money straight on their phone using mobile wallets. Instead of using a bank card, they can go shopping and pay with their mobile device. This is accomplished by first connecting the user’s bank account to the mobile app. Sending money to friends and relatives is simple because all that is required is the user’s name, phone number, email address, or other form of identification to complete the transaction.
A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional, black-and-white barcode that is scanned with a mobile device. The device may handle payment through the consumer’s associated bank account once the merchant scans the QR code.
Traditionally, point-of-sale (POS) devices were seen solely as hardware, used by retailers to mark selected goods and accept client credit cards. However, with continual advancements in the fintech field, there are now other options, such as mobile POS and virtual POS, in addition to actual POS systems.
Gift cards and vouchers
Gift cards are pre-loaded physical or virtual cards that allow the user to shop at chosen merchants who accept cashless payment methods. For many businesses, gift cards are an excellent method to raise brand awareness and serve as an effective marketing tool.
Electronic Clearance Service (ECS)
ECS is a sort of cashless payment system that is extensively utilized for large-scale transactions. Monthly instalments, utility payments, and disbursement of payments such as pensions, salaries, and dividend interest are examples of these.
You can use ECS for both credit and debit services, and your bank must authorize these “periodic credits and debits” before you can utilize it. It is regarded as a secure cashless payment method since customers can provide their bank or financial institution particular instructions, such as the maximum amount of the debit, the validity time, and the transaction’s purpose.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
Another cashless payment option is USSD, which allows customers to make payments without using an Internet connection or a smart phone. A customer must contact a special number to reach a call center in order to use this payment option. Payments are then made as long as the user’s cellphone number and bank account are both in agreement and linked.
Why a cashless society is good
There is a long list of benefits of a cashless society, many of which will not only offer us increased convenience but also improve digital footprints so that there’s less scope for corruption and illicit activities. Here are a few of them:
Cashless society advantages
Reducing disease transmission
Although the Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, stated in a research that “cash poses no specific danger of infection for the public,” there are some health hazards linked with handling cash. This is due to the different bacteria that are spread by its multiplication. In fact, the World Health Organization recommended that customers use contactless cards instead of cash to decrease the spread of diseases like COVID-19 in 2020.
Improved budgeting for consumers
Many bank accounts and online banking solutions come with mobile apps that provide customers with an easy-to-view list of all their costs and revenue. This makes it easier for individuals to keep track of their costs and, as a result, improves their budgeting.
Reduced business risks and costs
It takes money to move money around. To preserve such a valuable resource, rigorous security measures are required. In a cashless future, however, the hazards connected with handling cash may become obsolete.
Improved transaction speeds
Using debit and credit cards, smartwatches and key fobs and even mobile apps to make payments offer increased transaction speeds as they are processed much faster than cash-only transactions.
Less time and costs related to handling, storing, and depositing cash
In a cashless world, consumers will spend less time handling, storing, and depositing cash at physical bank branches as the need for cash will be eliminated.
Smoother international payments
Purchasing foreign money in order to enjoy your trip to another country used to be a need of traveling overseas. If the foreign country permits cashless payments, you can conduct the transaction by simply swiping your card or using your mobile app, with the exchange rates and commissions computed immediately and debited from your account. Furthermore, due to the internet nature of the transaction, making payments like remittances abroad or any other sort of foreign payment will become easier.
Compiling more comprehensive economic data
Governments all across the world spend a lot of money gathering economic data, which is subsequently utilized to make policy decisions. Digital transactions leave a trail in a cashless future, and this data can be collected much faster and for a larger population, allowing governments and organizations to make better-informed decisions.
A tool for addressing corruption
Corruption, tax evasion, and bribery are believed to have stolen $1.26 trillion from developing countries. Money laundering and other illegal acts will be less likely with a digital paper trail. We’ve also seen how getting rid of high-denomination notes can help cut down on criminal behavior.
Why a cashless society is bad
With all the benefits mentioned above, you might wonder if there are any dangers of a cashless society? There are certainly some concerns worth considering:
Cash enables you to spend and receive money anonymously. However, with a digital transaction, there’s always a footprint you leave behind, which can be used against you, and even worse, it could have negative ramifications if it falls into the wrong hands.
Safety and security
Payments made via the internet are not yet totally secure. Hackers operate in a perilous environment, and if you find yourself with an emptied bank account and no money, it may take a long time for the institution to recover your assets. As a result, fundamental cyber security is a skill that we all need to learn.
Technology is never perfect, no matter how much we rely on it. It’s possible that entrusting your finances to a machine will result in some technological mishaps. This could result in financial losses, disappointments, and wasted time and effort.
The unbanked may be disenfranchised if the country goes cashless. This could be harmful to those in low-income areas and those who are digitally inept, such as the elderly, leading in a loss in social equality and further disruption.
Reduced cash handling should, in theory, result in lower costs. However, if one or a small handful of digital service providers band together, they may impose fees for accessing their services, negating any savings from reduced cash handling. Merchants already pay a transaction charge for each payment they process, and these fees could be prohibitively expensive for those merchants who deal in low-value, low-volume transactions.
It’s time to rethink how we manage our finances. It’s easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending due to the simplicity of swiping, pressing, or clicking. Impulse purchases made with a credit card may result in overspending and going over budget.
Negative interest rates
Consumers can currently withdraw their funds and go elsewhere when banks raise interest rates. Because all payments are now digital, shifting fees to consumers might be costly.
It is difficult to imagine exactly how cashless societies will be regulated. Will there be a central bank that oversees all income and expenses? What will the role of financial institutions and governments be? This could lead to imposing additional taxes, while more totalitarian governments could use the system for mass surveillance.
How to prepare for cashless society
A cashless society is not just possible; it is currently underway, with several of the world’s most technologically proficient nations making significant progress. However, while some countries are leapfrogging into the future, many others are lagging behind, potentially widening the economic divide between states.
Cryptocurrency cashless society
Although there are no cashless societies as yet, some are already in the pipeline and we could see the first cashless society in Sweden on 24 March 2023. Recent figures from the Swedish Central Bank show that less than 13% of Sweden’s total population uses cash. This translates into around 80% using cards. Cash accounts for less than a percentage of all the transactions in the country and cash payments are heavily discouraged. For businesses, over 99% of merchants accept card payments.
When will we become a cashless society
While Sweden forges ahead towards a cashless world, the question of whether a cashless society is a way forward remains ambiguous and an unanswered one. Many countries are increasing bank account and card adoption rates, but the number of unbanked remains very high. In fact, according to the World Bank, about 1.7 billion members of the global population remain unbanked, which means that “digital payments tied to major institutions pose a risk of financial exclusion.”
Revelations cashless society
As mentioned above, the future for Sweden is clear. It will become a cashless society in March 2023. However, it remains to be seen how this trend will continue to grow across the world. Some developed countries like the US have deeply ingrained laws, some of which outlaw discrimination by merchants against individuals based on the fact that they use cash as legal tender.
What happens to cash in a cashless society?
Perhaps what will happen to cash in a cashless society is the case that cash will be seen in videos, social media, and museums as relics of the past. Cash still offers many benefits such as improved control over spending and limiting impulse buys as well as the fact that there are no additional fees paid.
However, with cash, you won’t be able to build a credit history or credit score, cash is less secure than cards and finally, cards tend to offer rewards for higher usage and spending rates.
Bible verse cashless society
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. …
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
So that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. …
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; …
1 Corinthians 10:11
Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. …
And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— …
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them. When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, …
“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? …
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,
And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. …
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
2 Thessalonians 2:11
Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
2 Thessalonians 2:9
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. …
And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! …
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” …
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. …
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. …
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. …
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, …
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. …
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Whether the world slowly begins transitioning to a worldwide cashless society remains to be seen. The truth is, it’s likely that countries will implement this system to some degree or another.
However, perhaps one option is to consider a blend between cash and cashless in order to ensure that the disenfranchised are not marginalised further. At least until their states can be improved. This is a continuous work in progress and takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to achieve.