The Cashless Society — Conspiracy Or Coming Soon?
Grab your coffee, today we’re going to discuss cashless societies. After that, we’ll go over this week’s hottest trading events for your calendar. Ready? Set? Go!
The Creeping Cashless Society
As with any major financial shift, in practice, there are various levels of development. Going cashless is no different. Some countries are still mainly cash-only; many are partially cashless; others are moving toward shedding paper entirely; and others are already there.
Here are some tell-tale signs that both local and global economies are on the shift.
#1 This ATM is out of service
This one is pretty obvious. The removal or disconnection of ATMs essentially cuts off the supply of cash to society. People can’t use what they can’t get, right?
Which?, the UK-based consumer group, recently said that almost a quarter of the UK’s free-to-use ATMs have been removed since 2018 and nearly half of the UK’s bank branches have closed since 2015.
In 2020, China removed 50,000 ATMs, which amounted to over half the global decline.
#2 The rise of e-banking
Signs of the global shift can be seen in the prevalence of e-banks like Revolut, N26, Starling, and Nubank.
These companies — often called neo or challenger banks — are designed to disrupt traditional global banking. The one thing they have in common — they’re all digital. Their services can only be used online, whether that’s paying for goods or transferring money.
#3 Digital wallets
Like e-banks, the increased adoption of digital wallets could be rendering cash pointless.
Digital wallets store payment information on mobile devices. This includes bank accounts, debit cards and credit cards. They use mobile device tech, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC to transmit data.
Apple Pay and Google Pay are two of the most popular digital wallets, allowing users to pay for goods or transfer funds from their bank account contactlessly using their phone or smartwatch.
The countries leading the chase
Like many innovations, adoption is accelerating in some places faster than others. Here are some of the most advanced cashless societies in the world.
● Sweden — Ironically, the first European nation to issue bank notes is now one of the world’s most developed cashless societies, with only 32 ATMs per 100,000 people in active service.
● China — The country is expected to go entirely cashless within the next 2–3 years.
● Norway — 98% of the population now exclusively using the debit/credit card system. Norway’s central bank said that just 3–5% of all point-of-sale transactions are now carried out with physical cash.
● The Netherlands — 91% of the population has already embraced digital payments and debit cards. The country is now Europe’s leader in smartwatch payments.
● Finland — The country is predicted to go fully cashless by 2030.
● The United Kingdom — According to a study by UK Finance, the use of cash payments has decreased by 35% since 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic.
What about the disadvantages?
It’s not all happy days, though. Many suspect that a cashless life is less safe. Others even think it’s a sign of something more sinister at work.
Although ditching cash could reduce theft and fraud, for many, data and cybersecurity issues are a worry. Identity theft and compromised personal information are potential dangers, but privacy might be compromised in other ways too.
Every time you make a digital purchase, you leave a trace behind. Some argue that these traces could be connected by Big Business to predict people’s buying habits and essentially manipulate them into future purchasing decisions. Recent events in Canada also demonstrated how cashless payments can easily be controlled by government forces. There GoFundMe and personal bank accounts of protesters were frozen by the Canadian government.
In another event back in 2013, Cyprus citizens experienced a “haircut.” On 25 March 2013, a €10 billion international bailout by the Eurogroup, European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was announced, in return for Cyprus agreeing to close the country’s second-largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank). The end result was that 47.5% of all bank deposits above €100,000 were seized. Fast forward 10 years and many citizens maintain a great distrust of banks and prefer to hold cash in their homes.
And lastly, the other issue is that these services are entirely online. What happens in the event of an emergency, or if a network has downtime, or experiences a cyber attack?
These downsides need addressing before widespread adoption can ever truly happen. If indeed it will.
What side of the fence are you on?
What do you think about cashless societies? Are they a good thing? We’re over on Twitter, waiting to hear from you! Keep us company at @_contentworks.
Top fundamental events week commencing 23.01.23
This week promises to be relatively calm. Here’s everything you need to know.
No significant events are planned
● EUR — German GfK Consumer Confidence (FEB)
● NZD — Inflation Rate YoY (Q4)
● AUD — Inflation Rate YoY (Q4)
● EUR — German Ifo Business Climate (JAN)
● CAD — BoC Interest Rate Decision
● USD — Durable Goods Orders MoM (DEC); GDP Growth Rate QoQ Adv (Q4)
● USD — Core PCE Price Index YoY (DEC); PCE Price Index YoY (DEC); Michigan Consumer Sentiment Final (JAN)
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The Contentworks team