“Money, money, money”, ABBA sang in 1976 about all the things you could do with a little money. Industry experts believe that today, ABBA’s home country of Sweden is set to become the world’s first “cashless society”, a place where digital financial transactions, either through cards or mobile devices, completely replace cash money. This model is expected to take shape by March 2023, but consumers are already increasingly paying less with cash, and banks and retailers are handling less banknotes and coins.Executive Summary
I have tried the cashless “revolution”. I placed my banking information into my mobile phone “wallet” and proceeded to live a life of bliss with no receipts to review or change to handle. I did not like it. My cashless moment lasted a mere two months. After my brief encounter, I deleted my banking information from my mobile and happily skipped to the ATM to dispense some green.
The idea of going without physical cash is one that concerns me. I understand that the cool factor as well as security concerns are easy to share as propaganda. But I am quick to remind myself of the phrase, Ignorance is bliss. For a genuine look into the cashless revolution should dispel the myth and comfort of security. How quickly can one’s mobile device be pilfered and scavenged for information? How quickly can a banking institution refuse and withhold money from an account holder? What of the population that does not use or own mobile devices? What happens to them? How will they continue to purchase goods, food, and materials to maintain their survival? How quickly will they experience segregation from the affluent members of society who can not only purchase the advantageous mobile devices but also swipe left or right to determine which goods they purchase?
Europe is on the verge of crossing the thresh-hold. Or nearly so, as the document from Statista implies. Countries in Asia are likely to follow, or are mere steps behind. Japan has been at the forefront of this electronic marvel for decades now.
A DossierPlus document from Statista: Cashless society in Europe: a winding road. The PDF is available to download for free.
“Contactless”, however, is a vast term, encompassing different types of payments through different means. A debit card with an NFC chip is one way. Other examples include smartphones or wristbands with an NFC token built in, or apps that decipher a QR code. These types of contactless payments are fairly new in their development and typicallyContactless in Europe: round one (p. 34)
require a mobile device (a smartphone, tablet, or a wearable device or token) in their use. To avoid overlap, this latter type of contactless payment has been classified “mobile payment” and will come back in chapter five.