Movies depicting the future have often shown societies that use some variety of credit for transactions. The use of actual paper money and coin has consistently been portrayed as an ancient ritual. Has the movie world always been a few steps ahead of reality or is it the most accurate fortune teller that every lived?
In an attempt to curtail the spread of infection, the use of credit, or debit, payment for purchases has become the norm. The number on retailers going to cashless payments only has skyrocketed in the last six months. The increase in online transactions has also blasted upward, furthering the cashless transaction world.
If you were to check your wallet right now which would you have more of: plastic cards or paper bills?
Currently, we are not in a “cashless society” but we have moved to a “less cash” situation. The rise of a pandemic has pushed us closer to achieving the cashless society. It has been known for decades that paper money, by virtue of its fibrous makeup, and, along with coins, are spreaders of decease due to hand to hand passage.
What does a truly cashless society bring with it?
Like many industries that have gained a stronghold on society, it means total control. Similar to the insurance industry in the U.S. that basically decides what to cover and not to cover, the banking industry would ultimately dictate the cost of every digital dime we use. The side hustle for a few extra bucks would be gone. How would those who cannot not get credit, don’t have bank accounts or debit card survive? The small mom and pop stores that take cash and can’t afford to give a percentage of every transaction to credit card companies would have no choice.
The advent of digital payment apps like PayPal, Apple pay, and Venmo have made purchasing much more convenient, but it comes at a literal price. What does this mean? It means that every dollar we earn will have a percentage of it go towards a fee for using that dollar. For those of you are thinking that credit card companies charge only the merchant to use the card on every transaction, that is true. For now. Those fees average about 3%, currently, but with total control those fees will be a golden ladder that the banks will climb. As those fees climb so will the cost of items you digitally purchase. The yearly fee paid to have the privilege of using that credit card will be up for grabs as credit would be the only game in town. As far as competition between cards, well, look at the insurance industry.
While most of us have already started this move to a cashless society, and for the most part, we are at the “less cash” stage now, it seems that only time will tell if it is a worthwhile transition.
The movie world doesn’t portray the use of a cashless society as a good thing. Are they foreseeing the future again?
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