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Dash: going somewhere quickly.
Over the past decade, digital payments have taken off and now this payment revolution is about to turn cash into an endangered species in many economies. Countries dematerialize payments at varying speeds. But the direction of travel is clear, and in some cases the journey is nearly complete.
Cash is dying out because of two forces. One is demand—younger consumers want payment systems that plug seamlessly into their digital lives. But equally important is that suppliers, such as banks, tech firms and telecoms companies, are developing fast, easy-to-use payment technologies from which they can pull data and pocket fees.
There is a high cost to running the infrastructure behind the cash economy—ATMs, vans carrying notes, tellers who accept coins. Most financial firms are keen to abandon it, or deter old-fashioned customers with hefty fees.
Cash is inefficient. In rich countries, minting, sorting, storing and distributing it is estimated to cost about 0.5% of GDP. When payments dematerialize, people and shops are less vulnerable to theft. Governments can keep closer tabs on fraud or tax evasion. Digitalization vastly expands the playground of small businesses and sole traders by enabling them to sell beyond their borders. It also creates a credit history, helping consumers borrow.
Yet set against these benefits are a bundle of worries. Electronic payment systems may be vulnerable to technical failures, power blackouts and cyber-attacks.
In a cashless economy the poor, the elderly and country folk may be left behind. And eradicating cash, an anonymous payment method, for a digital system could let governments snoop on people’s shopping habits and private titans exploit their personal data.
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Why you felt happy by using your cellphone
I have just recently been able to start using Samsung Pay. My bank finally came out of the stoneage, or so I thought. For those that don't know what this is, it’s the ability to store your credit card electronically in your phone. Your phone then essentially becomes your credit card and you no longer need them with you. Your phone is it.
I was under the impression this technology had been available for some time and it was only my bank dragging the chain. Well maybe it has been around but people haven't adopted it as I am often the first person to use it at a store.
To my surprise, almost everywhere I go and pay using just my phone, I will receive some form of “wow” comment. It was the case again last night at my son's girlfriend's 18th birthday.
The two families went out to celebrate and I paid for the drinks using just my phone. The lady taking my payment was quite simply amazed at the technology and asked me all sorts of questions.I felt rather special.