Swipe it, tap it, Apple it — do we even know what cash looks like? I honestly can’t remember the last time I pulled out a good ol’ fashioned $20 bill to pay for something. Usually, I just tap my card and go along my merry way. But, what are the problems with moving to a cashless society?
Overspending is probably the numero uno of the problems with moving to a cashless society. Look, I’m no economist, but I know how easy it is to tap your way into a maxed out credit card. Swipe here, tap there… and voila, all of your electronic cash is gone!
And that’s just in the store. Don’t get me started on how much money we spend online without a second thought. Amazon probably loves me considering I give them half my paycheck in one or two fell swoops. Speaking of which, I should probably order some dog food…
A Fee Filled Life
The biggest benefit of using cash is that no one wants to charge you a premium to use it. Oh, you want to pay with cash ma’am? That’ll be an additional $0.50 for a processing fee — said no one ever.
Cash is simply cash. That’s all it is. But one of the problems with moving to a cashless society is that with our credit cards and online payment systems, everyone gets a piece of the cash we spread around. Don’t get me wrong, I understand. A company like PayPal needs the cash they bring in to stay in business, but while a few dollars here and there don’t seem like much they start to add up fast!
The other day I was at a store purchasing something I needed for my business operations. I went to tap my card and low-and-behold it didn’t work, so I inserted the chip into the machine and BAM, the PIN didn’t work. I ended up paying for the purchase on my personal card. After which, I promptly took my card into the bank and… the teller’s machine was down.
Another one of the problems with moving to a cashless society is that technology issues are all around us, and when we rely on technology to make purchases and that technology doesn’t work we end up leaving without what we need.
Security and Privacy
My dad is a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I’m positive he thinks the government has his fingerprints on file and are tracking his every move through GPS cameras and the chip in his credit card… and while most of this is ridiculous (or not, depending on what side of the fence you’re on), he does kind of have a point when it comes to privacy and security using electronic payments.
One of the problems with moving to a cashless society is that our privacy and security are only as private and secure as the companies that hold the data. And even when they handle that data with the utmost professionalism, there’s no telling where it’s headed.
Not Only Problems With a Cashless Society
As much danger as there is with a cashless society, it’s not all problems. There are a ton of benefits for those of us who are good with our money (most of the time I’m included in this category… most of the time).
Having a cashless society can reduce crime because it’s a tad bit more challenging to steal money if its electronic (but watch those tap limits). There is also a better paper trail of where our money goes, which is good for those investigating finance crime and for you doing your budget. And, we get rewards… pending you have a sweet rewards program you can actually get something great out of spending electronic money (here I come, Mexico).
The fact of the matter is, it appears that we’re moving towards a cashless society whether we want to or not. But I think it’s important to know the risks, so that going forward we can try to prevent them.
What problems do you see us facing with a cashless society? Tell me about them in the comments below!
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Tae started out as a journalist before following the money into the corporate world. But it turns out that the grass isn’t always greener and now you can find her spending most of her time writing about all the things she loves. Namely, money, travel and business with a hefty dose of self-deprecating humor. She is a podcast fanatic, blogging aficionado and loves to find new ways to turn passions into cold hard cash!