The Inevitable Cashless Society

Sweden wants to become essentially cashless by 2025, and they’re not alone, but well on the way to that. Right now, less than 11% of their economic activity is still done in cash. There were only seven bank robberies in the entire country last year since they don’t have much cash on hand, and there are less than 900 ATMs in the entire country.

Use your credit card, debit card, e bill payments, or other online payment systems, but don’t try to do too much in cash. Even the homeless people that sell newspapers or flowers on the side of the road won’t take cash. Their cell phone only takes mobile payments. In the U.S., a former head of the Treasury Board stated he thinks the U.S. should do away with the $100 bill. That’s certainly where their conversion to a cashless society would start.

This fall, the game Monopoly will no longer come with cash. It’ll be replaced by a scanner and debit cards. The game had huge lessons for kids on financial stuff, money, math, making change, and many more. That’ll be all gone. But then, Monopoly is just joining the cashless movement.

Is it a good idea or not? While it may seem simpler, once you make the adjustment, it’s also one giant additional step in giving up your privacy. The government, police, tax department, lawyer for your ex wife, and a host of other agencies can now trace very single financial transaction you’ve ever made. Everything you do, anywhere, for any reason, now has a permanent paper trail. While bank robberies are almost non-existent, electronic fraud has doubled.

Sure, we gave up some (OK, a lot) of privacy freedom after 9/11 – yes, in Canada, too. We give up privacy every day on social media. We give up a ton of our privacy when we sign up for store loyalty programs in the hope of saving a few bucks, but is this a step too far? To me, this has massive big brother implications and it’s a step too far – way too far – in my opinion. Freedom and privacy aren’t lost in one big law. They’re eroded one little step at a time. Well, I have nothing to hide so this one isn’t worth fighting for. Then the next little step: Well, I’m not really on social media, so I don’t care. And that’s how massive changes happen, one step at a time.

The further left your political view, or the government in power, the quicker it’ll happen. I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with cash for my small transactions. I can’t stop the conversion to a cashless society – nobody can. About the best we can hope for is to slow it down.

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