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The debate

A cashless society will come at an ecological cost - 11/30/2019

While all technological advances are also judged on their environmental impact, it seems that the debate on the cashless society has not sufficiently taken this issue into account. Transition to digital technology and cashless payments is not such an eco-friendly move as it might seem. Modern society is going digital, and the financial services industry is at the forefront. We receive smartphone notification instead of advice slips, online application is just enough to get a loan, and non-cash payments are increasingly replacing paper money. Production and consumption of paper in the banking...

The US is not ready (yet) to be cashless - 11/27/2019

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...

Going cashless should be an option - 11/25/2019

The report by Slaughter & May into last April’s failure of TSB’s IT system in April last year is damning about the bank, and not much of an advert for the so-called ‘challenger banks’ set up to provide fresh competition for the big banks in the aftermath of the 2008/09 financial crisis.       Two million of the TSB’s customers found themselves locked out of their accounts after the bank attempted to shift 5.2 customer accounts from the old Lloyds Bank IT system to the system of its new Spanish parent company, Sabadell, over the course of a weekend. But it...

When cashless economy means a bigger generational and income divide - 11/22/2019

Desmond White leads a very modern life, riding his bike around inner-city Newcastle, where he lives on his own in a fifth-storey apartment overlooking the wharf. But the 93-year-old was unimpressed when he recently became the owner of an iPhone. "I had one of the old traditional phones, which was misbehaving. All callers — and I've got a lot of callers — would say 'what's up with your phone, what's wrong with your phone?'" he said. Optus offered Mr White a new phone and he agreed, but he was surprised to find it was an iPhone that arrived in the mail. "I was expecting one like the...

The Dangers of a Cashless Economy - 10/01/2019

Shoppers beware! The saying goes: the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the devil never shows his face – meaning that all mistakes seemed initially like a good idea. For the past decades, we have enjoyed the increased options of how we make payments, drifting from cash-only to mobile payments, for instance. But what seemed like a luxury could be the pernicious road to grave dangers, as cash slowly disappears.   Cashless trends worldwide   Sweden has seen its cashless revolution heavily documented and reported on, as observers throughout the world used the...

"It's time to halt the relentless drive for a cashless society" Ross Clark - 09/21/2019

HOW ironic that at a time when the Bank of England is putting more women on banknotes in order to promote “inclusivity”, it is becoming harder for us to get hold of those notes. According to the consumer group Which?, 5,000 cashpoints have been lost over the past 18 months — one in ten of the total. Worse, poor areas are being struck most. Nearly a thousand of the lost cashpoints were in the most deprived areas, such as Birmingham Ladywood, which has lost 47 machines. Some towns no longer have a machine at all, or if they do it is one that charges people a fee to access their own...

Cashless society: two sides of the debate - 09/20/2019

Recently, a number of states in the US brought in legislation to prevent the rise of so-called ‘cash-free stores’ which only accept digital payments. Some see that denying payments in cash is a form of discrimination against people with lower incomes. This is but one more episode in an ongoing debate over the possible future of our economy. Under consideration is the discontinuation of cash as a means of exchange. Should we double down on our race towards digital dependency ? There are various axes upon which pro-digital economists assert that cash should go, despite significant drawbacks...

The cashless society in question: why going cashless puts privacy at risk? - 09/17/2019

The debate around the cashless society has gained momentum. One of the main fears to stand out is privacy: in a world without cash, a prying eye will always be privy to every single transaction we carry out. The main revolution has gone unnoticed: since we have moved on from mainly cash transactions, gradually and over the course of decades), our transactions are no longer private. Every time we purchase something, every piece of information (known as metadata) is registered: time, amount, type of card, payment sender, payment receiver, location, etc. Business reporter Anthony Hilton writes...

The IMF wants to ban cash so so you pay the bank to hold your money - 08/26/2019

As the Federal Government moves to ban cash transactions above $10,000, there's a theory gaining traction that the real motive for the cash ban isn't the so-called "black economy", but rather, to give authorities greater control over your behaviour during recessions.   This theory, put forward by economists such as John Adams — and picked up by some federal politicians — has not been plucked out of thin air. It is based on repeated public papers and statements by the international body in charge of financial stability — the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF). A recent...

A cashless society may not equal financial inclusion - 08/23/2019

As the world adopts the digitisation of everyday life, there is a global trend aiming at financial inclusion. The improvements in technology have resulted in opportunities for payment solutions and governments to offer more affordable transacting for the previously unbanked. However, that is not to say that a cashless society is a utopian one, writes Vaughan Alexander, CEO at Innervation Pan African Payment Solutions. Cashless transacting enables organisations to engage with customers in more meaningful and personalised ways due to the data they generate about habits, preferences and other...
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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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