Cash money: yes or no?

Are you dreaming about no cash and no carrying wallet? Your dream could possibly come true but not everywhere. 

Cash is still the safest way to pay in some areas of the world and is unlikely to disappear very soon. However, we are not surprised that many people prefer electronic payment methods due to easiness and mobility.

For example, Scandinavian countries are way ahead in terms of cashless society. Swedes don’t carry cash at all and can make all the payments by card, and even banks have no cash.

Digital wallets created by Chinese commercial giants Alibaba and Tencent are the most popular ways to pay in shops and online.

But the thing is – we still have quite big amount of people in the world, who remain dependent on cash and even have no access to mobile payments and Internet.

FDIC’s survey in 2015 reported that 7% of US households never had any relation with bank rand referred to as “unbanked”. The same survey also estimated 19.9% are “underbanked”.

The problem is bank fees, many poor people just can’t afford paying it. But besides banks, report by the Pew Research Center indicates 11% of Americans don’t use the Internet. And it is only results in the USA, for example a 2017 study from EY and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, found 19% of Indians have no access to the formal credit system.

Another thing, which keeps cash alive, is privacy. The need or desire for privacy differs depending on preferences of the person. Of course, paying by cash is more private than when using electronic payment methods. The level of desired privacy will affect future of cash.

Eliminating cash could potentially cut out significant part of population from participating fully in the economy.

Let’s look at two cases of different countries and how they deal with cash and no cash money.

India

In 2016, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi announced the law banning country’s two most used banknotes — basically 86% of all the currency in the country.

The demonetization affected Indian economy – Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy counted up that 1.5 mln jobs were lost in the first four months of 2017 due to the ban. Such decision was taken to fight with corruption and black market but it’s double-edged sword. As people have lost their jobs or businesses, elimination of the cash can become rather problematic for some countries.

Sweden

The report by Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, states that amount payments in cash in the retail sector declined from 40% in 2010 to 15% in 2016. Moreover, country will become fully cashless by 2030.

80% of all transactions in Sweden are made by cards. Digital payments via card or apps are accepted almost everywhere and many Swedes no longer carry cash. Even children use debit cards.

Cash may disappear indeed. But where and when? Most probable it will disappear in one country, but might remain in another.

Do you prefer using cash or you prefer alternative ways of payment?