Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

On reward. Evolving through to the prosperous

On the year
of the 50th anniversary of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), moving
towards a cashless society seems inevitable and we are entering an era where
cash is outlawed. Several dystopian futures foresee society where cash is no
longer king. The recent acceleration of digital disruption has made possible
which society previously assumed to be unachievable. Technology has not only
made life in general less complexed but from a financial viewpoint has swung
our reliance from physical to digital currencies. The move to electronic cash
has now coined the label ‘cashless’. A cashless society could be interpreted as
a world where all debits are paid using electronic money such as direct debits
and bank cards. Cash gives consumers freedom, it is dependable and lets
consumers manage personal finances with simplicity. From the period when Jack
traded a cow for some magic beans, to hovering rectangular plastic against a
card reader, how we have paid for goods has taken many unexpected turns over
the years, with today only a small percentage of money circulation being coins
or notes. The financial service industry has endured substantial shifts in the
last twenty years with countries such as Sweden making huge waves to becoming
the world’s first ‘cashless society’. The future of finance may soon be upon
us.

The
transition to ‘chip and pin’ (Visa and MasterCard) has been fully integrated in
modern societies being the birth of our march towards a cashless society, now
we opt to leave the wrinkled tenner at home and purchase goods with an
effortless click or tap. With card payments occurring instantly and consumers
do not have to walk with a wallet full of cash, having wallets crammed with
bank cards rather than overflowing with bank notes and coins. The incentives to
use cash are in decline whereas the advancements in technology are causing the
alternatives to thrive and dominate at the forefront of the financial industry.
Certain cards and apps, you will even be rewarded, with the more being spent
the greater the reward. Evolving through to the prosperous growth of Financial
technology (Fintech) payment firms involved in financial services and peer to
peer lending on e-wallets such as Apple pay, Square and Zopa combined with the
surge of decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple becoming more
widespread are leading to old payments and conventional banking systems becoming
obsolete. These entities are working on and have created various electronic
payment mechanisms to steer a new digital payment revolution with cash becoming
less crucial in society. There are both socio-economic advantages and
disadvantages in going towards a cashless society and there are arguments on
why it may not be viable or why we may not go essentially cash free in this
generation. Millennials understand the significance of cash and the
straightforwardness of digitally controlled money. However, we still use
physical money for our daily transactions of goods and services even with more
people accepting a cash free culture but whether we will entirely shun bank notes
and coins in the future is not definite. These matters will be thoroughly
explored and examined within my extended essay concluding on whether we are
moving towards a cashless society from the perspectives of consumers,
governments, economists, central banks, and my own viewpoints. 

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