The US is not ready (yet) to be cashless

Cash may have once been king, but for years, cash has been losing its grip on the crown. More payments have moved to digital, and consumers want to pay with everything from their watches to digital wallets. Carrying paper money can be inconvenient. In 2017, credit card usage reached its highest level since 2005, with 181 million consumers  using cards.

And yet, reports of the death of cash are greatly exaggerated — or at the very least, premature. In fact, according to a slew of new studies, it’s clear that while America  and the world  are moving toward a “less cash” model, the global economy is still far from a cashless one.

Working in payments technology, I’m always thinking about the future of payments. In China, that future isn’t so far away. More than three-quarters  of the Chinese population prefers digital payments to cash, a phenomenon that gains traction each year. You can pay a subway fare  in Beijing using a QR code or mobile wallet, and the city is planning to let riders pay via facial recognition technology . Diners in some restaurants tip waiters and waitresses via QR codes  attached to the servers’ shirts. Even panhandlers  in China accept money via QR codes.

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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