Ca-ching, ca-ching, a sound you may not hear for much longer

KaChingA year ago I wrote about the likelihood of us becoming a cashless society and a chequeless one too.

The threat hasn’t gone away, but I wondered if there were newer signs of the impending loss and lo and behold there are.

Two buskers in Seattle, Washington, with a vio...Though cash is still around, have you noticed what is happening to the buskers we used to have plenty of around the shopping centre, not just on paydays or super days, but also to all the various organizations that used to line the doorways into the supermarket with their collection boxes?

Yep, diminished numbers nowadays, and why? Because a lot of people no longer carry small change  and it is not very practical to throw your credit or debit card in the hat.

So what is the new way of dealing with this?   Given that a quarter of us claim to not use cash in a given month and most of us likely carry less than $20 in cash at any time, we seem to have moved away from what in truth is the most inefficient way of making payments, paying by cash. To do so requires you to carry cash around with you, you have to find a machine or bank to withdraw your cash from and hopefully without having to pay a fee for the privilege.

Bank TellerBusinesses need to have a cash on hand for change and like you need to make deposits of the cash at the Bank taking it from their place of business to their bank which involves inconvenience and of course the risk of transporting sometimes large amounts. I just read that some banks overseas are refusing to accept cash, no I’m not kidding you, but they will accept it only as a deposit made by the trader or you into a special deposit box similar to what our local banks provide for quick deposit entries, and presumably that frees the tellers from counting your takings and the time to do so.

paypassNow that we have the contactless cards with PayWave or PayPass where one’s purchases under the $80 limit are not requiring even a pin entry cash has lost its usefulness, even for the bus ticket, and if you are the owner of a smartphone with NFC capability [for the uninitiated NFC stands for ‘Near Field Communication’] then it counts as using a normal card.

To make your life even easier still you can download an app onto your NFC smartphone and start using what is known as Quick Tap and then you can just place your phone next to the unit receiving payment and the amount owed is automatically deducted from the stored amount on your phone. That does mean that you have to upload and store an amount on your phone in the first place similar to some cards.



Mobile phone users can also transfer money from one person to another by similarly tapping their phones together or send money via a barcode or through Facebook or email. Not all bank provides this facility at this stage, but it will be tapping on your door in the very short term.

Now then, do you still need cash? You are loath to give it up? Prepare yourself, the future is cashless, inevitable I regret to tell you, like paper cheques the demise of cash is well on the way. I noted that in Auckland at least some shops do not accept cash after 7pm, then cards only. I’m not sure what you can do about the buskers and beggars or collectors, but they may turn up with a smartphone ready for you to tap a dollar across to them to solve the problem, for New Zealand is far ahead of the United States when it comes to adopting the contactless technology.

May be that since we are not in the habit of leaving tips on the table or hand to the cab driver we don’t actually need the cash anymore and now that even vending machines have contactless terminals on them to accept mobile payment and the parking machines happily charge your credit card, well I ask you?

Happy cashless computing.