Enabling a cashless society

I’m intrigued by the rapid progress to a cashless society in :sweden: which @Ryan mentions in his post.

By contrast, in :uk: there are campaigns to legally guarantee access to cash because it’s claimed cashless-only services disadvantage vulnerable people (eg people with fixed low incomes or the elderly or people living with disabilities, etc) . I think these campaigns are mistaken because it should be possible for fintechs to find solutions to the perceived problems.

Would you agree? How has :sweden: or other countries overcome objections to going cashless?

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There are still some people pushing for it to be illegal to be a full cashless society here in Sweden.

However; the Government is actually looking at ways to fix this, so even if it were cashless, those people who would be listed as vulnerable wouldn’t actually be so.

Surprisingly, it’s relating to blockchain technology. You can read here (in English) about the Riksbanks proposals for an e-Kroner.

Sweden already has a lot of fin tech startups, for example Klarna, iZettle, Tink, Lendify, Trustly, Billhop AB, and many others. If you’re up for a read…

So, with Sweden basically being the defacto ‘home’ of fintech, I cannot see why this couldn’t be a reality.

Nor can I see why it shouldn’t be a reality.

Especially with coronavirus, the fact that many shops (at least here in Sweden) did not accept cash due to risk of infection, there is clear evidence it can work.

It would cost less, no printing of physical money. No thefts from businesses or banks with cash registers full of cash. No risk of infection.

I managed 2 bookmakers in the UK, and some of the clientele with their… lack of hygiene, made me not want to actually take their cash, so I always used hand gel.

In conclusion here; I think it’s good to work towards a cashless society. There can’t be as flagrant disregard of tax laws without cash. There can’t be hoards of cash hidden away in mattresses from the black market, and illegal drug solicitation would have a hard time to work with the ability to track money.

I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts.

Thanks to @Martin for bringing this conversation up!

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A major UK newspaper published this article over the weekend. It mentions “fears” about a cashless society five times but nothing about possible solutions. Artificial support for cash will make the UK less attractive for fintech investors and hold back innovation. The readers comments are interesting.

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I honestly don’t believe there can be any reasonable fears for this change.

The one thing I will admit to, is that the older generation would have a tough-ish time getting used to it; but that was the same with when computers and TVs came to the world, everyone was skeptical.

I know for a fact through some of my own (albeit unscientific or peer reviewed) research shows the ones that are most afraid of the change are those that utilise cash for so-called black market transactions. Drug deals; cash in hand without declaring it for taxation purposes (this one I have a form of first hand experience with - it’s not me though), or counterfeiting.

In 2020, the Bank of England took around 170,000 counterfeit notes with a face value of £3.9m out of circulation (:link:). While this amounted to less than 1 in 20,000 notes being fake; this is just simply the amount they have taken out of circulation. This doesn’t take into account new methods, or circulation among the black market.

My honest, honest belief is that we would be better off being cashless. There are in my opinion more benefits to it than not.

Cash usage is declining, older people are getting au fait with online banking and debit cards, leaving the (innocent until proven guilty) criminals being the ones that want cash as it cannot be physically tied to them.

As technology moves on, I think it is going to be inevitable that we become a cashless society and we will be the better for it.

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