Throughout developed countries such as the UK, franchises are beginning to launch #Cashless shops and restaurants; arguing it’s an easier alternative. However, this method of payment means transactions can be easily traced, which is both a benefit and a disadvantage.
Learning from the past
As seen in the past, over-reliance on banks can cause grave consequences for account holders. Following the 2008 financial crash in the UK, many were rushing to a cash point to take out their money and stash it in a much safer place – their own pockets. Similar incidents have happened in Greece, Japan, and Cyprus in recent years – suggesting very few countries would be totally exempt from crashes and bankruptcy.
Understandably, panic sets in when savings are at threat to being sequestered in order to bail out the banking system. This suggests having savings in other forms, and not solely #Digital cash, is less risky and doesn’t require dependence on banks.
Risking crime and fraud
Although there are benefits to digital money, such as efficiency and cash management, it is highly disposed to criminal activity.
Jeremy Josse, author of Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trade, believes that although we already somewhat live in a cashless society, digital money is vulnerable and prone to hacking.
“In theory, someone could hack into even the most secure money center banking systems and potentially steal, transfer or confuse those systems. We have already seen that with card fraud and even on a large scale,” he said.
“In terms of fraud, money in its physical format is not quite as easy to replicate as money when it is just electronic digits. A note (with all its details and watermarks) is not that easy to counterfeit. Likewise, old gold coins are difficult to replicate with the right amount of gold, etc. so we seem to have creased this incredibly efficient form of money (digital money) but nevertheless it is very vulnerable, potentially, to abuse on a wide scale.”
Balancing investment and funds
Access to money should be diverse, as money can be vulnerable if it is only stored in one place – i.e. a bank account. The number of hackers breaking into bank accounts is sky rocketing - around 160,000 pro-hacking computer viruses are developed everyday worldwide.
Last year hackers stole an estimated £650m from bank accounts around the world in what was thought as the biggest ever ‘cybercrime.’ In Britain alone cyber scams costs Britons £3.1bn a year.
Banks are encouraging customers to independently protect their accounts, to avoid relying solely on insurance. Methods include shredding bank statements, have different pin codes for different cards, avoid writing down bank details, and do not use websites that save bank details or strong personal details.
Financial exclusion is also an issue that can by triggered by a cashless society; one important caution is that around 20 percent of the US population is known as “unbanked” – they do not have any sort of bank account at all, according to Josse. Populations such as these are still highly dependent on cash, and if cash were to disappear, they would simply be stripped of a means of value exchange.
A society without cash is a society without on-demand, easily accessible money. It is a society that relies entirely on the banking sector and the vulnerability that comes with digital wallets. Although there are obvious benefits to digital cash, we cannot live without a balance of the both. #Crime