I’m hearing more and more about a “cashless society.” What can we as believers do to prepare for such a possibility and how should we navigate the days ahead?
Prepping for Digital Currency
Dear Prepping for Digital Currency,
This is not an easy question as there are many strong, differing opinions; some say that it absolutely is going to happen, and others say that it absolutely will never happen.
A 2019 Harvard Business Review article points out that 30% of all transactions happen with cash. They don’t think it is likely to ever be eliminated as a form of payment. On the other side of the argument, a BBC article suggests it will get here sooner than we think. I fall somewhere in the middle as to the probability of it happening. But, to your point, we do need to be informed and prepared.
A cashless society means absolutely no cash. That means transactions will be fully digital and fully controlled. While many young people welcome it since they are almost there already, the idea deeply concerns me.
The most used form of payment today is debit cards, followed by cash. The coronavirus caused many to fear using cash because of possible transmission of the virus, even though there is no proof that paper money carries the virus any longer than plastic cards.
On July 14, 2020, an article from Bloomberg CityLab stated:
“A June report from Square showed that at the start of the pandemic in March, 8% of U.S. sellers were effectively cashless, meaning that at least 95% of their sales were made through credit or debit card. That figure jumped to 31% by the end of April and has since leveled off at 20% in mid-June as cities reopen. In the U.K., cashless sellers jumped from 10% to 60%, according to the Square analysis, and dropped just slightly to 57% in June.”
Cash carries more emotion for buyers. The loss when making a purchase is felt immediately. As CEO of a ministry that tries to help people steward their money, I’ve seen people improve their spending habits due to the psychological effect of using cash.
We’ve seen the use of cash discouraged and even refused by certain vendors. However, cashless stores were banned in San Francisco, New Jersey, and Philadelphia on the grounds of discrimination.
These factors could either propel or delay the push towards going cashless, so don’t make a determination too quickly one way or the other.
Benefits of Cashless Society
● Lowers crime
● Reduces cost of printing and storing cash
● Eases international payments
Disadvantages of Cashless Society
● Privacy sacrificed
● Hacking risk, technology issues, and impaired access in a natural disaster, power outage, etc.
● Overspending and management issues
● Susceptible to imposed fees and lack of control
● Biometric IDs will likely be required
● Debit and credit cards
● Payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle
● Mobile payments like Apple Pay
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley