Cashless Technology: Are You Ready to Give Up on Cash?

Well, it’s likely that one day soon you wont have a choice, but will you really miss carrying all of that copper in your purse? I know I wont.

Cashless payments are nothing new. Cheques have been around since the 1700s, bank cards appeared in the ’60s, and right now in 2016 we’re spoiled for ways to pay. Take your pick from chip & pin, contactless debit card, smartphone payment systems like Apple Pay, PayPal and a whole host of other options.Shouldn’t we just do away with cash all together?

Personally, I like cash; I enjoy being able to see and hold my money. I like paying my window cleaner in pound coins, dropping change in to a charity collection tin, and quickly popping in to the corner shop with silver and copper to pay for a pint of milk without using a card and causing a queue. The thing is, most days I hardly ever pay in cash. Cash probably makes for less than 10% of my purchases, and I know I’m not alone.

Whilst I might not be ready to give up on cold hard cash just yet, there are entire countries who are and it’s happening fast. Sweden is at the forefront of the cashless revolution, with public transport and retailers legally allowed to deny cash payments. Even the homeless of Sweden carry mobile devices on which donations can be made by givers on the go. In 2015, Sweden only used cash for 2% of it’s overall transactions compared to the UK’s 48%.

Future Cashless Technologies

So, we know about past and present cashless technologies, but what lies ahead? Well, there are some downright creepy ideas in the works, some novelty and some beautiful like the Scrip from New Deal Design.

An argument against a cashless society is that if consumers can’t see their money and only deal in numbers on a touch screen, they will spend more frivolously and eventually we’ll all end up in debt. You have to admit, cashless can feel impersonal. That’s where Scrip comes in: A gorgeous copper pebble like device designed to bring an emotional response back to buying. It’s easier understood when seen in action so check out their website here.

Mastercard and Google has been experimenting with payment via facial recognition. Mastercard’s biometric “selfie pay” app was released in Europe earlier this month, whilst Google has been working on it’s Hands Free app. Hands Free will have a facial recognition option that will either allow the store assistant serving you to confirm your identity, or a camera at the checkout will scan you for authentication.

My favourite – and maybe the creepiest cashless payment system on the list – is the Nymi band: A wearable device which enables you to replace passwords and payment systems with your unique heart rate signature. Just strap the Nymi to your wrist and as long as it recognises your pulse you can set it to do all sorts of tasks. No more typing passwords to log into accounts or computers, and forget pin numbers or using house keys. The Nymi can unlock a door by just being in proximity to it. The potential uses for the Nymi are endless!

Are you ready?

Contactless payments are here to stay and cashless systems are getting smarter by the year and will soon by seamless, so do you think it’s time to give up on cash? Let me know below and for more money talk visit the Moneylife blog.

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  • Jazmin Williams

    I use Apple Pay whenever I can because my phone is always on my and saves digging into my bag! Great post – I wonder how people older than me feel since I’ve had years of growing up with tech to get used to it, but I know some people do prefer old fashioned money

  • I do like having cash especially for smaller, quicker purchases and knowing how much you spend, but I couldn’t be without cards x

  • I’ve been using cashless more and more lately it’s just so much easier! I do think it’s a generation thing though as my mum couldn’t bare it if we did away with cash entirely