The news from the Netherlands that its bank note printer had closed
its operations because of market overcapacity is a symptom of a
worldwide movement towards a cashless society. During the month of
September alone, a number of international reports were published
about the declining demand for cash in consumer payments.
U.S. Mint welcomes a fourth metal to the
American Eagle bullion program.
Also in this week’s print issue of Coin World, we teach our readers
about what a “weak-fatty” gold coin is and why you don’t want one in
In Singapore, the increase in noncash payment systems has the
potential to increase local bank profits by up to 9 percent over the
next two years. Despite that, its prime minster expressed concern that
his country had fallen behind China in e-payments and would be
ridiculed by Chinese visitors as a result. In England, according to
The Telegraph, a new system using fingerprint recognition is being
implemented in a supermarket that uses an infrared scanner on people’s
finger veins and then links it to their bank cards. Two-thirds of New
Zealanders now carry no cash, preferring cards that can be tapped on a
payment device. Vietnam is trying to reduce its number of cash
transactions to 10 percent by 2020. Tanzania, a nation of 55.6 million
people, had over 20 million mobile payment users by the middle of this year.
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The unrecognized breakaway republic of Somaliland, says the BBC, may
become the first totally cashless society. There, where its currency
has become so devalued that wheelbarrows are needed to transport it,
most people are already making their payments by mobile phone.
The BBC calls Sweden “the most cashless society on the planet, with
barely 1% of the value of all payments made using coins or notes last
year.” Cash is used in just 20 percent of retail sales and is not
accepted on buses.
Even in Zimbabwe, whose financial system is a catastrophe, a few
organizations are trying to introduce digital payments.
American consumers used cash in 32 percent of all retail
transactions in 2015, down from 40 percent in 2012, according to the
Federal Reserve’s most recent survey of payment choices.
Despite these trends, there will always be a place for cash. Even
with digital advances, many still find the old-fashioned way more
comfortable. In Asia, for example, CNBC cites a PayPal study showing
57 percent preferring cash for daily transactions. It rises to 70
percent in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. There are also
added, substantial costs for going cashless, an expense that not all
merchants are willing to pay.