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Will the UK be a Cashless free country?

Embracing a Cashless World

The technological and information age we find ourselves in is being embraced the world over. With it comes a buzz around innovations that take advantage of and build up on existing technologies to come up with solutions to our day to day needs. The economic world has not been spared from the excitement of technological advancements. Both private and public sector players are constantly investing an insurmountable amount of resources in coming up with time and cost effective ways to make monetary transactions be it paying for goods or services rendered to making money transfers to family and friends in remote regions.

Technological impacts to the money system
Reliance on a cash system has a number of pros and cons to it. For the most part such systems are time and cash ineffective with the poor in the society bearing much of the brunt. In an online article posted in the Business journal, Bhaskar Chakravorti points out the cost of maintaining a cash system. He argues that the poor in the society accrue payments four times higher to access money than those in society who are well rooted in formal banking systems. He also notes that it takes up to 45 minutes cumulatively for those with low incomes to the unemployed to access money. Money is very important in every transactions in the world today.

Various technologies have been launched by banks and mobile service providers to improve accessibility and time effectiveness of the money transfer process. Most of these efforts are however localized and uncoordinated limiting their overall effectiveness. Mobile money transfers such as Paytm in India, ZAAD platform in Somali land, and Mpesa in Kenya have lead to a number of subsequent products that employ the same technologies. In Kenya for example, one is able to transfer money via their mobile phones for purposes ranging from paying for tuition fees, rent to the payment of medical bills as well as the purchase of goods and services from local stores.
Countries such as Sweden have also been at the forefront of championing purely cashless economies. Arguments have been put forward by various scholars on the potential benefits of doing so. One such benefit is the trace ability of monetary transactions thus aiding the efforts to curb corruption and the funding of illegal and terrorist activities. Time efficiency in service delivery by credit and other service providers is also improved by the use of mobile money transfer platforms and other internet based platforms such as Paypal, Payoneer and Skrill.

Should you be concerned about online transfers?

While online and mobile money transfer is still in its infancy stages and has a long way to go in terms of policy measures that protect such transactions and other safety precautions, the concept of a cashless economy is one whose developments should be watched with keen interest. Despite the privacy and general freedom concerns raised with the use of online and mobile money transfer systems, accountability and trace ability of money offers better opportunities for financial management at both individual and business levels.

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