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The Almighty Buck Technology

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills 753

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-money-is-no-good-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this story about how a cashless society might work and how far-off in the future it is. "...We're not there yet, but a cashless society is not as fanciful as it seems. Recent research suggests that many believe we will stop using notes and coins altogether in the not-too-distant future. New payments technologies are rapidly transforming our lives. Today in the U.S., 66 percent of all point-of-sale transactions are done with plastic, while in the U.K. it's just under half. But while a truly cashless society is some time away yet, there is raft of groundbreaking technologies that will make cash a mere supporting act in the near future."
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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

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  • Drugs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slowdeath (2836529) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:01PM (#47445409)
    As long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, there will be a need for cash. Lots of cash. Dealers don't take plastic.
  • Not me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:03PM (#47445419)

    As someone who has had a recent issue with a certain major bank(they closed the account and sent cashiers checks to me for the balance. Waiting 2-3 days without money wasn't pleasant)...I will never go cashless. Relying on these financial institutions for every transaction is something I will not trust. I won't get into the whole NSA/FBI/etc. potential tracking of all my purchases.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:04PM (#47445425)

    The other point of view is that cash is needed because the government is still all in our business. Get the government out of the morality game and the cash will more or less disappear on its own. In that way, cash usage is a proxy for government oppression.

  • by LazyAussieStudent (1192267) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:10PM (#47445447) Homepage
    A butcher near me already has http://canningsfreerangebutche... []
  • by djKing (1970) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:16PM (#47445483) Homepage Journal

    In Canada we no longer have dollar bills. We have dollar coins. We also got rid of the penny.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:38PM (#47445603) Homepage Journal
    There is a non-trivial fee associated with cash too. Cash requires labor to move/protect it, can go "missing" much more easily than credit card transactions etc. Cards are probably still more expensive, but not by as much as you may think.
  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:26PM (#47445835)

    Exactly true. Market research shows people spend more if they are using a CC. Part of the psychology is of course that cash you are carrying around is generally a more limited asset than your CC balance limit.

    While that's true, it's beginning to change, particularly for many younger people. I've personally always found cash easier to spend, because it wouldn't be in my pocket if it weren't available. Credit cards, though? I need to think about my bank account balances and charges for the month before using those. But I agree that most people aren't that careful.

    However, the big game changer for younger folks is financial tracking software -- so now you can see instant balances changing whenever you charge or debit. With financial tracking software, the CASH becomes the "funny money," because it isn't tracked automatically.

    That means that whatever money is in my wallet has already disappeared from my "accounting software," so it's basically already spent, as far as I'm concerned. I've talked to many people who feel the same way now... cash is now the "free money to spend" while credit transactions see an immediate visceral impact as you look at your moving balance.

  • by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:29PM (#47445857)
    "The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century. "
    "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."
  • by profplump (309017) <> on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:50PM (#47445955)

    The assumption that some sort of special merchant status will be required to accept non-physical payment strikes me as unfounded. Even today it's fairly easy for individuals to send money via ACH -- or a paper check, like individuals have used for years -- and it's not hard to imagine ways to make a similar process even easier and less dependent on banks.

  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:50PM (#47445957)

    Never say "never". The kid who occasionally mows my lawn has a smartphone. I can see a day, not too far off, when this is the customary mechanism for doing that kind of payment. As soon as the transaction cost goes down to negligible.

    So yes, there may come a time when government-supplied currency tokens are obsolete for almost all transactions. That may not be in my lifetime, although the phasing out of postage stamps may happen in the next couple of decades. Illicit transactions may just move to barter.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:53PM (#47445967)

    The problem isn't banks, its US banks.

    Here in Australia I recently opened a bank account including an attached VISA Debit card (lets me pay with VISA using my own money). When I did it, the bank didn't care about my financial circumstances or anything and I was able to open the account with a single dollar coin.

    The only account fees I have paid since I opened this account was an overseas transaction fee when I bought something from overseas with the VISA and a fee (charged by the ATM operator) when I used an ATM not part of the RediATM network.
    I pay NO monthly fees and NO transaction fees for using RediATM ATMs, EFTPOS, VISA in Australia, bPay or internet banking.

    No reason why a bank has to make it hard for people to get a bank account or charge huge fees, they just choose to because they are greedy.

  • by Goetterdaemmerung (140496) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @09:58PM (#47445985)

    "Cashless" is also a giant vacuum sucking service fees back to the banks and so on. Retailers pay a certain amount per transaction to a payment processor, even if you the customer don't pay directly. Think that doesn't come out of your pocket in the end through higher prices?

    THIS. I can't believe everyone is so supportive of a cashless society when cash is the only transaction-free method of payment (also anonymous). Paying 3-5 percent convenience charge simply to not use cash boggles my mind. I often ask for a cash discount on large purchases and usually the merchant is quite eager.

    Cash is king.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @10:02PM (#47446003)

    I'm fighting the government right now. They decided three years ago I owed them 37,000$. No explanations. The only thing I was told was I'm supposed to have received everything by mail. Of course, I never received anything. I lost count how many time I called or went to talk to someone. Each time I was told I'll receive everything by mail, each time I received only a summary stating I how them those 37,000$, plus interest. I never had an explanation. Sometimes the guy I talk to says it makes no sense, so he says he puts everything on hold until he can figure it out, but after a few months I receive again an advice saying I must pay them now. Last year, the government froze all my accounts and stole my money. Plain and simple.

    I filed a complaint, and the answer I got was that I should hire a lawyer and go to a court of justice. After talking to a lawyer, I was told this kind of cases could go on for a very long time and could cost me a lot of money. The advice was that I should forget about my money.

    So fuck you.

  • by theycallmeB (606963) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @10:29PM (#47446097)
    People point this out a lot, and it is very true, and merchants love to whine about it, but they never point out the costs of handling cash.

    You have to count it into the till, make change, balance the till, count and recount your deposit, and then haul it to the bank to deposit and pick up your change order, or pay an armored car service to do it for you. And hope nobody robs you in the meantime, or slips you a bogus $50.

    For cards, big stores don't even need to print slips for their records, it is all in the system. For small stores you can just staple the slips together by type and drop them in a box in case someone gets a stick up their butt and decides to audit you.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @10:31PM (#47446113) Homepage

    If the US were to change the dollar like that, most folks wouldn't care. The vast majority of American money is held in banks, which would make the change automatically on their electronic balance.

    The only thing affected by such a change would be large stockpiles of cash. For legitimate businesses, replacing the cash in circulation would be an annoyance, but not impossible. For most individuals, who would have less than a few thousand dollars in cash on hand, the change would mean just a quick trip to the nearest bank.

    The biggest disruption would be to those who have significant stockpiles of cash, larger than what banks would normally exchange. For that, the process could be pretty similar to what happens today if you need to make a large cash withdrawal or foreign-currency exchange: the bank can accommodate it with advance notice. You call the bank, give them a name and amount, and they'll make sure they have the cash on hand to serve your needs. The key detail, then, is that the bank knows your name and the amount you're exchanging, providing a paper trail indicating the presence of large amounts of cash. That paper trail is a problem for the criminal and the paranoid, but there aren't enough of those to make for a successful uprising.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @11:58PM (#47446463)

    Any transaction that doesn't want to pay taxes moves to barter. This shit is a government wet dream. Talk about control! If you piss off the government in any way they flick a switch and you're done. Actually they probably just click an icon on a screen. Now you can't use your money, it's gone! I can see it coming though, it's inevitable.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 14, 2014 @12:08AM (#47446491)

    And then you get picked up because the card you bought was actually traceable to kiddy porn or a terrorist bomber used it to buy fertilizer.

    Ala Tor.

  • Re:Useless coins (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pjludlow (707302) on Monday July 14, 2014 @03:21AM (#47447021)
    Interesting thing about the dollar coin is that it is in wide circulation in Ecuador (due to the dollarization of 2000 based on the hyperinflation of the sucre). It was odd seeing so many transactions with the US dollar coin there (parking, transport, food, etc), when I have almost never seen it in circulation in the US. It's actually odd just using US currency in a country that currently has a president with a measure of a anti-US sentiment and strong ties with Cuba, Venezuela, etc.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Monday July 14, 2014 @07:31AM (#47447567)

    the abolition of printed cash drives a wedge between 2 and 3. at the first whiff, run.

    Shouldn't you be complaining about not being on the gold standard?

    Seriously dude, your paranoid fantasy came true years ago, when we went off the Gold standard, and decoupled gold form the dollar.

    It's all a game, and there was always too much paper floating around to make a gold standard serious. And as soon as we went total fiat, it didn't matter whether the money was printed, or a checkbook, or auto-deduct or credit card.

    Maybe Somalia might work for you? I don't know how they handle money - mostly barter, I suspect - but it's probably more in line with your ideals. The rest of the world will just move on, and stand in line for their mark of the beast. The good news is they can pay for that online.

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbolden (176878) on Monday July 14, 2014 @07:58AM (#47447635) Homepage

    If they don't record the information though it is called money laundering. American Express got nailed with that in the 1990s for Traveler's Cheques they were letting people buy in the USA, lose in the USA, and then getting them recovered in a South American American Express location with no record of the who.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr