What is the future of cash?

Since the start of the pandemic, businesses around the world have drastically changed their operations to protect employees and customers. One significant pivot is discouraging the use of cash in favor of digital and contactless payment methods. On the surface, moving away from cash seems like the safe, obvious thing to do to curb the spread of the virus. Also, the idea of zooming towards an innovative, digital-first, cashless society is indeed compelling.

However, going completely cashless may lead to some unintended consequences.

COVID-19 Made Cashless Payments Go Viral

The world has been forced online, leading to a surge in e-commerce with online sales seeing a 45% increase, according to a U.S. Commerce Department report, in Q2 of 2020. From PPRO's transaction engine, we've seen online purchases across the globe increase dramatically in 2020: purchases of women's clothing are up 311%, food and beverage by 285%, and healthcare and cosmetics by 160%.

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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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