It's what the wallet was invented for, to carry cash. After all, there was a time when we needed cash everywhere we went, from filling stations to pay phones. Even the tooth fairy dealt only in cash.But money isn't just physical anymore. It's not only the pennies in your piggy bank, or that raggedy dollar bill.Money is also digital ~ it's zeros and ones stored in a computer, prompting some economists to predict the old-fashioned greenback may soon be a goner."There will be a time ~ I don't know when, I can't give you a date - when physical money is just going to cease to exist," said economist Robert Reich.
~ Cash is expensive to print, inspect, move, store and guard.~ Counterfeiting is always going to be a problem as long as paper currency exists.~ Cash if favored by criminals because it does not leave a paper trail. Eliminating cash would make it much more difficult for drug dealers, prostitutes and other criminals to do business.~ Most of all, a cashless society would give governments more control. Governments would be able to track virtually all transactions and would also be able to monitor tax compliance much more closely.
David Birch, a director at Consult Hyperion, a firm specializing in electronic payments, says a shift to digital currency would cut out these hidden costs. In Birch’s ideal world, paying with cash would be viewed like drunk driving ~ something we do with decreasing frequency as more and more people understand the negative social consequences.“We’re trying to use industrial age money to support commerce in a post-industrial age. It just doesn’t work,” he says. “Sooner or later, the tectonic plates shift and then, very quickly, you’ll find yourself in this new environment where if you ask somebody to pay you in cash, you’ll just assume that they’re a prostitute or a Somali pirate.”
The Royal Canadian Mint is also looking to the future with the MintChip, a new product that could become a digital replacement for coins.
Denmark and Norway have their smallest coin as the 50-cent piece, but Norway's Central Bank recently announced that the 50-øre (cent) coin will no longer be legal tender starting May 1, 2012. It will be withdrawn because it no longer circulates as an ordinary coin used for payment.
In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices ~ which make money on electronic transactions ~ have stopped handling cash altogether.“There are towns where it isn’t at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash,” complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden’s National Pensioners’ Organization.
But is a cashless society really secure?Of course not.
You will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins. Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data ~ facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files ~ will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.
Some people out there are actually quite excited about these new technologies.
"All I can say is I’d be the first person in line for an implant."
There are millions of Americans that want absolutely nothing to do with biometric identity systems or RFID implants.
"Most agree a cashless society is not only inevitable, for most of us, it's already here."