What place for seniors in a Cashless Economy?

Imagine a world without paper money or coins. Retail stores do not accept cash. Banks do not accept cash deposits.

That far-off world actually exists—or almost exists—today, at least in Sweden and a few other countries that are going cashless. Citizens in these places use debit cards, mobile payment systems and other digital tools to buy stuff.

Young adults who grew up online may view banknotes as a throwback to another era — like print newspapers and leather-bound encyclopedias. Heck, they may welcome the opportunity to implant a chip in their hand rather than futz with an actual wallet to retrieve an actual driver’s license.

Older folks, by contrast, may not embrace the digital economy. It’s one thing to play bridge online (like 90-year-old Warren Buffett) or chat with the grandkids via a computer screen. But the notion of abandoning cash—after a lifetime of holding it in your hand—is another matter.

Can seniors adjust to a cashless world? It helps if they appreciate the benefits—and have the means to capitalize on technological advances.

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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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