The Coming Digital Cashless Society

May 17th, 2011 . by Felix

What do the following articles have in common?

Visa Digital Wallet Accelerates Mobile-Payments Race

McDonald’s upgrades — cashiers out, computers in

AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile adjust plans for cellphones-as-digital-wallets service

They are all signs of the coming digital cashless society. The day is coming where you have no choice but to use a credit or debit card for all your purchases, no checks, no cash, digital payments only.

A couple years ago they installed new vending machines in our office building. One of the things I noticed was there was a credit card reader attached. I thought how dumb is that. I could easily see using your card, only not to have enough money in your account and being charged a $35 overdraft fee. So you can of pop just cost you $36!

Last summer we were taking a trip and stopped at a rest stop. I was going to get a can of pop but the machine no longer took coins or cash only credit cards. They had taped over the coin dispenser and bill changer. Now I understand that it may be more practical for the vendor not having to clean out the machine of coins and cash but from my standpoint it was very inconvenient.

Ordering off a touchscreen at MacDonalds and paying by credit card may seem convenient but number one eliminates more low level jobs and two forces you to leave your cash at home. Plus it will give MacDonalds more information about your buying habits.

Adding electronic payments from your phone raises all sorts of concerns. It places additional layers between you and your money. With banks required to reduce their fees, they are constantly thinking up new ways to charge you a fee. Fees you have no control over. “What’s more, whenever you made a payment with your Isis-compatible phone, the bill would route through your carrier, rather than through a credit card company like Visa. That way, each carrier would get a small cut of each transaction.”

Additional privacy concerns come up about tracking your buying habits. You will leave even a larger  trail when ever you pay for something than you do now. Add identity theft and hackers and there is even more reasons to be concerned.

There are times you just want to pay cash and go on your way, you don’t want to give up more information to retailers to use for marketing which will happen with a digital wallet. You pay for an item and the next thing you know you will be receiving text messages telling about the next sale.

The day is coming where you will be forced to buy a phone that is capable of digital payments, the added expense will be up to you. By eliminating cash and moving to digital only payments you eliminate the underground economy and every transaction becomes traceable. There goes flea markets and garage sales.

For those who are into tech and the latest gadgets it may seem really cool to be able to pay with your phone but for anyone who is concerned about privacy and giving up control of how you spend your money you should wade very carefully into the digital wallet cashless society.


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