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Cashless: Many Americans will be left behind





At stores across the country, paying in cash is more difficult than it used to be.

During the first few months of the pandemic, fear that cash could transmit COVID-19 spurred many retailers, if they remained open at all, to refuse cash and adopt new payment technologies. For a while over the summer, the problem was so acute that it led to a shortage of coins — not because the coins didn't exist, but because so few were circulating through the system.

Whether a future without cash is a utopian or dystopian one depends on who you are and what you want. For many fintech companies, the accelerated adoption of digital payment methods is a good thing. For the millions of Americans without a bank account, it could be a problem. Just as the pandemic has exposed the racial and socioeconomic fault lines that divide those who have the resources for remote schooling and health care from those who don't, fear of cash has done the same for access to the U.S. financial system.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.










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