Very powerful forces are pressing passionately for a worldwide cashless society, and the Bible has predicted the move for centuries.
Two years ago (2015) Bill Gates promoted it. “The key to this will be mobile phones,” he wrote. “Already, in the developing countries with the right regulatory framework, people are storing money digitally on their phones and using their phones to make purchases, as if they were debit cards. By 2030, two billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones.”
The technology is in place. Chris Skinner, author of The Future of Banking and Digital Bank wrote: “We already have contactless payment terminals, fingerprint recognition payments, micro and mobile payments. The only logical step is to introduce non-card based (i.e. biometric based) payment systems.”
We have come a long way. We use to barter for trade, some still do. The First Fleet used shells and trinkets in their early contact with aboriginals. I have travelled on buses in Asia with sheep, chickens and goats all travelling as likely currency. In the days of edible currency Parmigiano cheese was popular and accepted as bank collateral in Italy (of course).
However, I have grown very used to cash, but, are we watching the folding stuff reach its used by date? “There will be a time, I don’t know when, I can’t give you a date, when physical money is just going to cease to exist,” said former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
Speaking to the Australian Financial Review last September, ASIC chairman Greg Medcaft predicted “traditional bank accounts may be unnecessary within a decade.” (News.com.au) “Big brother is coming for your wallet” the article began.
In May 2017 Eyad Al Kourdi, General Manager of Southern Gulf, and Middle East and North Africa Mastercard Advisor said, “The UAE ranks foremost among regional economies most rapidly moving away from cash.”
Recently in India Prime Minister Modi banned the two highest denomination notes, the 500 and 1000 rupee (US $7.50 and $15 respectively) “This wiped out around 80 percent of the value of circulating cash used by many segments of society for trade,” Makia Freeman reported.
Three years ago, the Manchester Evening News (UK) predicted ‘physical currency will disappear inside 20 years.’ London buses stopped accepting cash, with customers required to use pre-paid cards. A shopping street in Manchester banned cash just to see how customers would react.
The CNBC network report published July 2017 said, Visa is considering rolling out cash incentives to the UK and beyond, for those who switch to card-only payments. “We’re declaring a war on cash,” Visa spokesman Andy Gerit said.
“It is estimated that, as of this year, more than half of all customer transactions in the U.K. were made via card payments, spurred in part by the growing popularity of new technologies including contactless payment and Apple Pay,” CNBC reported.
Brett Short wrote an article ‘The War on Cash.’ He reported on the Visa plan and added: “PayPal plastered cities with billboards claiming that ‘new money doesn’t need a wallet’, along with a video proclaiming: “New money isn’t paper, it’s progress.” (thelongandshort.org)
Professor Richard Holden (University of New South Wales) told the ABC, Australia could be cash free by 2022.
Forbes predicted we may well be entering a cardless, cashless society. In an article last September, Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com wrote: “Visa has been giving a lot of thought to what it calls a “cashless future.” But it sounds a lot like a cardless future.
Visa recently unveiled a new technology that allows people to pay for goods and services by scanning a QR code on a mobile device. Visa is eyeing the technology for developing countries like India that lack the infrastructure to process card transactions. But given the growing ubiquity of smartphones in the United States, it wouldn’t be hard to picture a time when we won’t even have to carry plastic cards because all payments will be done mobile device to mobile device.” (Will We Be a Cardless Cashless Society, Bill Hardekopf, forbes.com, September 1, 2017)