Many people who live in big cities may not remember when the last time they withdrew money was. Maybe having cash on hand is not so important anymore? No matter where you go you can pay with a credit card. Shops, supermarkets, subway, parking lot, the list can go on and on. The cashless future is closer than we think. However, how will such changes affect separate groups of people and the society in general?
First of all, let us consider some undeniable benefits of cashless payments:
- No bothering with change
- Less queues
- Low possibility of money getting stolen
- No need to withdraw money and pay withdrawal fee
However, the problem that already exists in some developed cities is inability of poorer class to catch up with technological developments. While some make digital payments from their phones, others do not even have phones. This way, there may appear even larger gap between low and upper class. In fact, many sociologists already talk about the evasion of middle class and the widening gap between people having everything, and those working for basic necessities.
Another problem urges to consider the situation that small businesses may appear in. Nowadays, we tend to buy everything in huge supermarket. It is easier because you do not need to go to many places and are able to buy everything in one. Plus, they surely accept credit cards as payment method. Such situation may lead to disturbing consequences later, such as monopolistic ownership and uneven distribution of wealth.
Despite the fact that the poorest strata of society lag behind in technological advances, the development does not seem to slow down. The faster it goes, the less likely those people will be able to ever catch up. Even today, many survive on $1 per day not talking about opening an account in the bank. Some countries will not be able to level up to other, more developed countries. If such situation persists, the world will be divided in two with some people living in “futuristic” world and other people coping with poverty. Therefore, the development of technologies using or facilitating cashless payments is beneficial in terms of speed and convenience, and efficiency as well, however, it cannot be assessed in terms of its influence on people’s lives, because there is a considerable number of people whose lives have not been influenced by this trend at all. Some people are even limited by this development, being unable to pay in certain places.
All in all, sticking to cashless payment methods is very convenient and fast. However, we still need cash because our economy is not ready to make a shift towards being entirely cash-free. Moreover, there are poor people who cannot offer to go all cashless like people in developed countries. That is why, despite all benefits of cashless payment, we have to consider global consequences first.