Is a cashless society possible?

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During the last few months, the opportunities to spend cold hard cash have somewhat diminished. For hygiene purposes, shops are asking customers to use card and contactless payments where possible and have done throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The preference to virtual payment is something talked about as a genuine possibility in as little as ten years, but if this virus is going to be part of our society in the near future, it may bring the end of cash forward considerably.

As well as the hygiene issue of money being in circulation, the way in which we spend money could also push the pounds and pennies in your pocket out of existence. Online shopping was on the rise before the pandemic took hold, and months of people stuck in lockdown has only added to this; the proof of this being that Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, has become the world’s first Trillionaire.

The truth of the matter is, the more online shopping increases and becomes more accessible, the less likely that cash will be needed. There is practically nothing you can’t buy online in 2020, and the small number of products best bought in person will only get smaller.

The pros and cons of a cashless society are both long lists. Let’s start with the positives. Doing away with cash will lead to hygienic and cleaner money transferals. Sites such as Paypal have shown the ease and security of exchanging money for goods digitally. It will also take out the risk of counterfeit notes and coins being used and accepted in shops and businesses through human error. Online banking apps will need to make the step up to cope with an almost total reliance on digital platforms for financial exchange.

Other positives to having a cashless society include it would be cheaper for the public. The cost of the cash infrastructure in the UK is around £5 billion a year, a bill which the taxpayer foots. This amount of money, especially after the hit to the economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, would be welcomed.

A further tick in the column of going cashless is that it is far greener. There would be no resources needed for the production of money, and less vehicles on the road picking up and transporting cash.

However, if a cashless society is something which the governments of the world want, then there are still lots of hurdles to overcome. The negative aspects include people’s money would be more at risk of being stolen through cyber crimes and, for those who aren’t totally comfortable with technology or online banking, the idea of total reliability on digital financing is a daunting one.

Some people find cash easier, and it reduces the need to remember passwords and the risk of being locked out of their own money. For people living in rural areas, using cash may be the only way they can carry out transactions.

Technology is forever changing, but the complete movement into a cashless society is one which will change life as we know it for good. The pros and cons of society moving away from money are extensive, and the reluctance from some people to use cash during the coronavirus pandemic has given an insight into what this cashless society would feel like.

With the way the world is transforming, the possibility of one day living in a cashless society looks to be growing. It can happen however, much like the economy, it needs the support and confidence of the people. The concept is fraught with issues but also has promising factors, but the truth is that at the moment, our society isn’t ready to go totally cashless.

Written by

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more

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