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A cashless society might sound like something out of science fiction, but we’re already on our way. Several powerful forces are behind the move to a cash-free world, including governments and large financial services companies. Even critics of the mainstream financial system and government-issued currencies favor doing away with cash. But we’re not there yet. In addition to logistical challenges, we need to address several social issues before giving up on cash entirely. The benefits and disadvantages below can give you an idea of the myriad of effects going cashless can have on money and...

Experts’ debate: what does a cashless society mean? - 09/17/2019

The phenomenon is only just coming into debate but has been underway for many years: as time goes by, economies resort less and less to cash for payments, and increasingly to digital means. If cash is no longer king, what can we expect our societies and economies to look like tomorrow? The lay of the land   A century ago, purchases as large as houses were often still made with cash, leaving “immaterial” payment means to the very top of the economy. Then came checks and credit cards, which gradually eroded the position of cash in our economies. Today, we have more payment methods than...

How will a cashless society affect the poorest ? - 09/05/2019

This economic metamorphosis affects everyone, not just the most extremely poor. In our struggling economy, many middle-income families are trying to keep pace with the ever more challenging cost of living. In the post-Brexit period, the UK economy is expected to take a withering hit. People, as always, will want to control their spending and keep an eye on their finances, and the best way to do this is by using cash. The connection between card payments and higher spending is well-documented. If cash is no longer an option, the risk of cycles of perpetual spending problems among lower-income...

"This shift to all-digital upends the foundation of our economy and creates unintended consequences for consumers." Frank Sorrentino, CEO of ConnectOne Bank - 08/30/2019

While a cashless economy seems like the natural evolution of our collective marketplace, the question is, is a cashless economy beneficial or harmful? Banks and legislators are both having these discussions. States are beginning to take steps to ban cashless stores. When you take a closer look, however, this shift to all-digital upends the foundation of our economy and creates unintended consequences for consumers. First, it can be more costly.  For local small businesses, solely accepting cards means increased expenses. Merchants will be faced with paying card processing fees and those...

"There is a huge machinery to make us believe that ‘cashless-ness’ is in our interest" Shrija Agrawal, Associate Editor Mint - 08/19/2019

Big corporations, ranging from tech giants such as Google and Facebook to fintech behemoths such as Visa and Mastercard, increase the volume of digital payments services they sell and have mobilized massive propaganda to declare a war on cash. Companies big and small—GooglePay and Paytm—are using baits such as cashbacks and there are taglines such as ‘India Ka Naya Cash’. Just as Google wants all internet access to go through its portal, it appears fintech corporations want people to access and navigate broader economic decisions via their privately controlled platforms. “Cashlessness" has...

Say No to the “Cashless Future” - 08/15/2019

I went to a counter-serve restaurant recently, and when the time came to pay for my order, took out my wallet, presented a $20 bill, and was told, “Sorry, we don’t accept cash.” I was flabbergasted. What happened to “legal tender for all debts public and private,” as it says right there on the bill? This has now happened to me at three separate establishments in recent months. The rise of cashless establishments is happening amid continuing hype over the supposed dawn of a “cashless future” and agitation by some very powerful interests that would love to see cash disappear. The credit...

"A cashless food economy is not all good" by Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax. - 08/02/2019

The economic case for using less cash when purchasing food is overwhelmingly strong. It makes the system more efficient, provides more convenience for shoppers, and makes management less prone to theft and human error. But it’s not all good. This doesn’t sit well with everyone, though. San Francisco lawmakers are now considering a proposal to ban cashless stores. New Jersey and Philadelphia are considering similar bans. Ban supporters argue that cashless stores discriminate against low-income shoppers who may not have a bank account or the means to have credit or debit cards. Close to a...

Cashless isn’t just classist, it’s bad for business - 07/10/2019

There’s a growing debate across the U.S., and internationally, about whether businesses should be required to accept cash in face-to-face transactions. San Francisco and Philadelphia have banned cashless-only retailing, arguing that such businesses discriminate against low-income people who might not have bank accounts. The entire state of New Jersey has done likewise. And two bills that would ban cashless stores have been introduced in Congress. Read more

Kenneth Rogoff’s war on cash: is he right to call cash a "curse"? - 07/03/2019

Economist Kenneth Rogoff published in 2016 a book, named “The curse of cash”, pointing at the numerous societal woes he attributes to hard currency, and praising its disappearance in favor of digital money. Despite an obvious desire to adopt a balanced and reasonable stance, several of the points made within the pamphlet reveal links to the partisan war on cash and misrepresent the role of cash in our societies. Read more

Stefan Gleason, President of Money Metals Exchange : "Big Banks and Big Tech are the ones pushing for a Cashless Society" - 07/02/2019

The War on Cash isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s an open agenda. It’s being driven by an alignment of interests among bankers, central bankers, politicians, and Silicon Valley moguls who stand to benefit from an all-digital economy. Last week, Facebook – in partnership with major banks, payment processors, and e-commerce companies – launched a digital currency called Libra. Unlike decentralized, free-floating cryptocurrencies, Libra will be tied to national fiat currencies, integrated into the financial system, and centrally managed. Read more
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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.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view









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Top Ten Things To Know

The debate

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In a cashless society, Big Brother will always know when you buy milk