While you can always find a few people who swear by using cash for everything, the truth is, most of us don’t keep much of it in our wallets. While you might save your coins for a vending machine, you’re more likely to pay bills with debit, credit, or a digital payment platform.
That said, a totally cashless life may not be in your imminent future if you live in the US. While countries like Canada, Sweden, and India are poised to be the first countries to go cashless, the US is notably lagging behind.
For now, going cashless is a choice. So, what makes you choose either way? And what does it mean when you drop all physical money?
FinTech Infrastructure Supports Multiple Applications
What can you do without cash? The answer is, pretty much anything now that the infrastructure is there.
More and more people are building out their mobile wallets, an app that stores your financial information onto your phone. By linking your debit card, credit cards, and even some loyalty accounts to your mobile, you can pay for items in store simply by tapping your phone or scanning a QR code.
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If you ever find yourself short on cash in an emergency, you can now find a loan online. Some financial institutions provide these online loans in addition to their usual in-person suite of financial tools. Others, like online direct lender MoneyKey, operate entirely online.
You can find these loans by opening your browser and typing something like this into your favorite search engine: loans near me. You’ll be able to compare direct installment loans from MoneyKey with all the other online loans available on the web.
It isn’t all about spending and borrowing money. You can even earn it by making the right investments through an online app. A digital investment platform automates trading decisions so that you can set your preferences and sit back to watch your portfolio grow.
The ETF investing app Robinhood made headlines recently after Redditors from r/WallStreetBets arranged a short squeeze on GameStop securities. But there are plenty of other platforms available today.
The Pros of a Cashless Society
- Convenience: No need to go to a bank or ATM to take out or deposit cash.
- Fast: Tech accelerates everything, whether ordering a pizza online or borrowing an online installment loan. Money gets taken out of your account almost instantly, and some online direct lenders provide same- or next-day loans.
- Accessible: The Internet democratizes financial information, so there’s no limit on what you can learn.
- Greater Oversight: You can trace every purchase to prevent overspending.
The Cons of a Cashless Society
- Unbanked Unwelcome: People without a bank account can’t set up digital payments or apply for installment loans online.
- Requires Tech: Without secure access to a smartphone or computer, these options are off the table.
- Overspending: It’s easy to overspend with digital payments because these transactions happen electronically. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Fraud: Being online opens a new can of worms: your cybersecurity. Data breaches and poor online hygiene may expose you to fraud.
If you’re sick of counting bills, the tech is there to support a variety of cashless activities — from digital payments and online loans to investment apps.