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Are We Heading Towards A Cashless Society?

Oct 26, 2007
The western world is advancing at such a rate now that it seems almost inevitable that we are slowly heading towards a cashless society. You only have to go outside and go about your daily life to see how fast technology is advancing.

Take London as an example. They're actively encouraging people not to carry cash around with them with recent initiatives they've introduced.

First of all they issued Oyster cards, which people can use to pay for London's bus and tube networks, and just recently the Evening Standard made it possible for customers to pay for their newspaper via a cashless payment card.

Now I hear that they're considering making it possible to pay for parking in the city via mobile phone rather than parking meters so this is yet another reason for people not to carry cash around with them.

If this spreads to the rest of the UK, and if other countries adopt similar initiatives, then it's surely only a matter of time before the whole of the western world uses technology in the form of prepaid payment cards to make cash obsolete.

The only reason we need cash at the moment is to pay for those small items from retail stores, but the technology is clearly there to make payment cards fit for this purpose, and I think pretty soon it will become the norm to pay for everyday goods via some kind of payment card.

Furthermore the fact that more and more people have mobile phones and access to the internet means that people could quite easily make payments to a payment card via these means. Therefore they would just need to transfer money electronically to their card so they can use it on the high street.

Of course the major downside is that we are heading closer towards the Orwellian world of 1984 and Big Brother where the government knows exactly what you are doing as they can track all your activities electronically.

However as long as you're not engaging in any criminal activity then I don't think there's any major cause for concern, although I'm sure the conspiracy theorists won't agree.

Ultimately you can't stop advancing technologies and no matter how much you dislike mobile phones, the internet, and the Big Brother world we are becoming, it's surely now only a matter of years before we become a cashless society where digital money replaces physical money.
About the Author
James Woolley runs a blog that discusses all aspects of money including shares, property, running your own business, and wealth building in general.
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