Whether or not cash is still king is a fierce debate across many sectors of society. And like most paradigm-shifting questions, it’s a lot more complicated than “yes” or “no”. Before we get into the specifics, there are a couple of major truths you should know. One is that digital payments of all kinds are and have been on the rise in the last 10 years and this trend is projected to continue. The second is that the degree to which a population is cashless depends greatly upon the specifics of country, culture, region, and socioeconomic status. Now time for the nitty-gritty.
Discover wallets for card-only folks and greenbacks in a variety of styles and materials here.
Is cash still king in 2021?
The past couple of years have seen a trend away from cash towards digital and contactless payments. The ongoing pandemic has only increased this switch, with many business opting out from accepting germ-ridden folds of paper bills and instead allowing only card payments.
Besides the pandemic, crazes over different bitcoin, Apple’s introduction of the “apple wallet”, and the subsequent release of phone wallets for every smartphone, are all symptomatic of a societal shift away from cash.
Having to carry around clumps of bills, counting coins when trying to check out, and having to deposit cash when you finally get around to it are all pains that can easily be avoided with digital payments. So why is cash still around?
Even though we are headed towards a cashless society, many people still need a wallet with space for cash. The Modular Bifold has traditional space for bills but also offers an RFID protected cardholder for important debit and credit cards.
Why does cash still exist?
There are many different reasons why cash still exists in the digital age, and again they are dependent on which country, sector, and population are being discussed.
Here are the main reasons cash still exists:
- People don’t trust banks. During times of war, political unrest, and economic crashes people are more likely to withdraw money from banks in order to protect it.
- Not everyone has the same access to digital payment technologies. In developing countries there may not be sufficient infrastructure to introduce digital payments, or in developed countries, vulnerable people like those without consistent living accommodations or undocumented immigrants can be refused access to bank accounts or other things necessary to pay digitally.
- There is a strong cultural connection between a country and its cash, as visible in the way in which cash is designed to reflect a nation’s pride with flags and famous figures.
- Cash still plays an important role in maintaining a stable economy. Many people still don't have a bank account, even in developed countries, and cash is the only way they can participate in the economy.
While cash is still a necessity for most people in daily life, there are possible solutions to help solve the problems that stop people from transitioning away from cash.
Ekster designs wallets that cater to people who are mostly cashless but still need to carry cards. Wallets like the Aluminum Cardholder offer RFID protection for cards with space for a folded bill or two.
Is cash money going to disappear?
There will probably always be some form of physical tender, at least within our lifetimes, but society as a whole is moving in the cashless direction and there are a few reasons why.
There are many benefits to digitization:
- Holding onto cash as a form of investment isn’t smart because inflation erodes its value over time.
- Physical cash is the easiest to steal and the hardest to get insurance coverage for.
- Digital transactions reduce money-based crimes like pick-pocketing, burglary, petty theft, and even bank robberies.
- Digital transactions are much easier to track thanks to technologies like blockchain, whereas physical tender is extremely hard to track once it starts exchanging hands.
- Digital transactions are proven to save time and money for both merchants and consumers.
- Cash costs more than it is worth in most cases, like the nickel which costs 8.1 cents to make.
For those who do still carry cash and cards, having a wallet tracker, as pictured above, is important so you don't lose your wallet.
What can replace cash?
So if we are moving towards a cashless society, what then will replace cash? The easy answer is digital transactions, anything from the more niche bitcoin to common transactions we make debit or credit cards every day. Recently the rise of the ‘smartphone wallet’ means many people don’t even carry around cash or cards at all and simply use their smartphone.
Styles like this MagSafe Cardholders are perfect for those who carry few or no cards.
Will we become a cashless society?
Whether or not we will ever become a fully cashless society is hard to say. While we are certainly moving in a direction where digital transactions are becoming more and more popular with many governments investing in this switch, I think there will always be some form of physical tender in circulation.
Many point to the fact that a cashless society would be at the whims of electricity grids and digital information storage facilities. Indeed, how does one pay for something with a card or phone if the electronic infrastructure has crashed? But one must also take into account that creating more robust electronic infrastructure is necessary across all sectors, from public transport to medical care, not just payment systems.
A cashless society will mean more secure payments for everyone. Until then, use a wallet tracker to make sure your wallet stays 100% secure.
Which countries are fully cashless?
There are no countries currently that are 100% cashless but a few come close.
Here are the top 15 most cashless countries.
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
No matter how you carry cash, you need a wallet that works for you. Depending on your lifestyle the best style could be a modular bifold with room for cash but an RFID-protected cardholder, or a MagSafe cardholder that attaches to your phone for the 2 or 3 cards you need. Whatever your needs, Ekster has a model guaranteed to streamline your day. Discover the whole collection here.