In North America, it’s easy to see that we’re heading towards a world that is driven by digital commerce. Many people order a good chunk of their daily supplies and impulse purchases online. Apps make buying things even out in the real world much easier than cash. Then, there’s the credit and debit card trend that doesn’t seem to be declining. Cash, for all intents and purposes, is dying.
Sweden has been the shining example of the move towards a cashless society. They have been going so far as to take out cash machines and ATMs. Churches are accepting tithes electronically rather than passing around collection trays. Even the homeless are often found driving their lifestyles through smartphone apps and card readers. As the NY Times details, it’s getting to the point that many businesses no longer accept cash at all.
The way that technology and society is heading, we may be seeing this trend growing much faster than expected. While some still say that we’re two decades away from even Sweden becoming a true cashless society, others are seeing a push that could force the hands of businesses, governments, and individuals in the near future.
There’s one scenario that could make this happen very quickly: economic collapse. Imagine if there’s an influx of fake money injected into a society. It would be the opposite of thievery but could have a more dramatic effect. Large infusions of cash could force a recovery through digital means only, which would, in essence, force a cashless society onto a country. If that country happened to be the United States who represents the world’s reserve currency, that effect could spread across the globe.
Most see this as a good thing. Going cashless ads to convenience and in some ways increases security. However, not everyone is convinced. There’s the Big Brother factor that has some worried about a world where all transactions can be tracked by the government and other entities.
Watch the trends. If you’re one who embraces going cashless, you’re likely in for a treat very soon. If you’re one who is paranoid about the concept, it may be time to turn your mattress stash into things that are more tangible.