Spawned by the recent news that Sweden has pushed its economy towards the cashless, digital frontier, this bold financial move has caused many to wonder if the financial markets will soon go paperless across the globe. Many have speculated about a future where digital transactions totally replace the need for any type of physical monetary exchange. While some embrace this leap into the future, others have expressed cause for concern; yet, every day, new advancements in mobile payment technology-based methods and other technological innovations seem to creep us ever forward towards a future where the paperless exchange of digital payments becomes the norm, if not the expectation, of the modern financial realm.
The Internet of payments
Once people learned that they could type in a credit card number on their computer and order products online, the leap towards a cashless future was inevitable. Although credit card payments did not originate with the Internet, the link between credit-based purchases and Internet browsing became the newest trend to sweep the globe. Today, the Internet is still being used to make cashless payments, but the nature the way these payments are being made over the Internet is ever changing.
POS systems and mobile payment options
Even inside traditional brick-and-mortar stores, the payment landscape has undergone a radically new look and feel. Today, people inside stores use touchscreen terminals and mobile apps to identify products in stock that they want to purchase. Various types of point of sale (POS) systems provide a new experience for shoppers by allowing them to use their preferred method of credit or digital mobile payment option to complete a cashless transaction. Even the need to grab a physical receipt has been replaced by a digital copy in many cases. From payment services like Android Pay to digital checks, it seems like the paperless payment options are virtually endless. In some cases, a person will simply only need to swipe their mobile device over a part of the POS system where NFC technology takes over to automatically complete the cashless transaction. In addition, many modern POS systems make it possible for customers to check themselves out. This change in how retail stores operate reduces costs for both the store owner and the consumer since fewer employees are needed to run the store. Even though POS systems still make it possible for paper and coin-based transactions to take place, the choice for consumers to pay digitally has increased as the options become more readily available to them.
Cryptocurrencies make physical cash less necessary
In a recent run-in with the European authorities, world-famous rapper Snoop Dog found himself in a financial bind that, according to this source, could have been avoided if he had turned his cash into Bitcoin before attempting to carry so much money across European Union borders. The news reminds people that being caught with too much money, which sometimes raises red flags, is easier to avoid when money is converted into a digital format for convenient portability. Additionally, as cryptocurrencies become a more secure form of monetary exchange, they leave many to wonder if paperless is not a better way to head in the financial realm on all accounts. For many who prefer the use of digital cryptocurrencies over physical cash, the ability to replace their bank with a virtual wallet makes better financial sense. One reason is that their virtual wallet does not charge them a monthly service fee. Another reason arises from the fact that the cryptocurrency is far more difficult for the government to trace than the physical money in one’s bank account or pocket during a search and seizure situation.
In a world where physical cash has a tendency to lose its value on numerous levels, modern people look for a medium of monetary exchange that better fits their modern way of life. Since society has already been well conditioned to making credit-based transactions, making the leap to a paperless financial future seems to be the natural progression. Whether the governments of the world will ever be fully onboard with a completely paperless financial solution is something only time will be able to tell. Then again, the push for a paperless financial future may be an outcome that even world governments will not be able to prevent from becoming a reality.
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