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Could we be a cashless society in 10 years?

Even the Federal Reserve Bank is thinking about issuing a digital currency.

With Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Square, credit cards, Bitcoin and many other options to pay digitally, a cashless society can seem imminent. More surprising is that 48% or roughly half of those people think it would happen in the next five years.

Respondents felt going cashless could improve their lives for the following reasons:

  • Travel: 33% said it would make travel easier because you would not have to worry about losing cash, converting money, theft, etc.

  • Convenience: 32% said they’ll never have to worry about having enough cash on hand again.

  • Efficiency: 29% said it will improve the speed and ease of the payment process.

  • Budgeting: 27% said it will make it easier to manage their money.

Visa last year offered up to 50 small businesses a $10,000 bounty to go cashless ( Though it is still too early to know what will happen to the businesses that won the contest, the key arguments in favor of cash-abandonment are that it would lead to more efficient service and carry a lower risk of theft. A recent New York Times article profiled restaurants in Manhattan that take only plastic, and boosters are looking forward to an entirely cashless society.

No cashless systems have fully replaced cash and credit cards yet, but many influential technology and finance companies believe that this is the next big thing. Nothing is guaranteed, but it is important to note that in India, the government has already rolled out a biometric system to prevent welfare fraud.

In India, enrolling in the biometric ID system is not mandatory, but the government has already spoken with banks and other organizations about using the biometric system as a way to standardize ID verification throughout the country. Though originally introduced to the public as an option, enrollment may soon become a necessity.

Technology forecasters are not always accurate in their predictions. The VCR was supposed to kill the movie industry in the ’80s, and LaserDiscs were supposed to replace VHS cassettes in the ’90s. Emerging trends are never guaranteed to take off, and ultimately it is up to consumers to decide how they want their identification to be verified.

What do you think about the possibility of a cashless future? Does the convenience outweigh the risks?

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