The Tech You Actually Need in a Cashless Society

Cash may be king, but technology is waiting to take the throne

what you need to know

  • You can survive in a cashless society with 3 things: a smartphone or smartwatch, mobile payment apps, and two-factor authentication.
  • You will need many different payment apps installed to track retailers and banks.
  • A truly cashless society is still a long way off, so relax and you’ll be fine.

Something curious happened on the way to quarantine in 2020: money is no longer welcome. Concerns about whether or not the disease could live on paper bills were coupled with warnings about social distancing, and before anyone could blink, merchants and customers were eschewing cash in favor of cashless payments. Contact.

Add to that a coin shortage due to the closure of the US Mint and traditional cash businesses, and the recipe for cashless conspiracies has taken hold across the country. But a cashless society is not necessarily the horror some say it is.

What does “cashless society” really mean?

Officially, a cashless society is one in which financial transactions are processed through the transfer of digital information rather than physical money in the form of bills or coins. In other words, you will never need to use paper bills or coins. Already.

Despite rumors being circulated by your Facebook or Instagram friends about how a cashless world is about to wipe out the last vestiges of civility, America is a long way from becoming a truly cashless society. Technology advances, but humans strongly resist paying the neighbor’s son through Paypal to mow the lawn and most parents resist giving children one debit card instead of five for the weekly allowance .

Which is really strange, because in 2018, cash made up just 16% of payment methods used in the United States, according to research firm Statista. Plastic is actually America’s favorite form of payment these days, so we’ve already shown that we know how to play nice with others without paying dollars.

Before you worry too much about it, think about the last 5 things you bought and consider how many of them you paid for with real bills and coins. Yes, not much!

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The technology to use in a cashless world

A cashless approach could be difficult to adopt in areas where income levels and digital divide issues can take their toll on even the best plans to use technology for everything, but retailers and banks are still betting that most of society will benefit.

The good news is that you probably already have everything you really need to survive in today’s cashless kind of society: a debit or credit card. From banks to payday loan companies, debit cards are available to anyone with the cash to back them. Pay your bills online, in store or over the phone with just one and you’re good to go.

Beyond plastic, there are still some simple technologies to get used to using in the years to come when shopping for groceries or other essentials.

  • A mobile payment application. These allow you to quickly and easily transfer money to other people who have the same app, from friends or family to real businesses.
  • A smartphone. A paid app isn’t very useful if you can only use it from home. So you’ll need a phone that can display information on a screen and send information wirelessly when you’re on the go. Any type will do.
  • A connected watch. It’s not a necessity, really, but it becomes a smartphone replacement for some people. Do not you believe it? Just look at those ads where they tap a smartwatch against a contactless payment terminal at Starbucks, grab their coffee, and literally run.
  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA). Annoying? To verify. clumsy? Often. But with a strong password, 2FA will help protect your funds so that if your phone or watch is stolen, a thief can’t break into your accounts and spend money.
  • What to know about paid apps

    The worst thing about paid apps is that there are so many options available and they don’t work well together. Everyone can choose something different, which means that you will have to familiarize yourself with most of them and only use them to buy something on Craigslist.

    There are two types of paid apps to consider. The first is a mobile payment service. You’ve probably used Paypal for something before, but now there are competitors: Zelle, Venmo, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.

    These apps are designed to never show merchants your credit card numbers and to encrypt every transaction.

    The payment service you use may depend on factors such as the type of phone you have (for example, Samsung Pay only works on Samsung phones) or the types of transactions you make. Paypal and Venmo, for example, are widely used in online stores, but not so much in physical stores.

    Banking institutions most frequently use Zelle, while all kinds of retailers, including McDonald’s and Whole Foods, use Google Pay.

    The second type of payment app to consider is the retail app. More and more retailers are developing their own payment apps to encourage you to tap and pay instead of pulling out a physical wallet to shell out cash. Starbucks is a shining example.

    This app allows you to order your items from outside the store and then pick them up without having to wait in line to pay in person. It is one of the oldest retail payment apps; one in five Starbucks orders is now shipped and paid through mobile devices.

    Its success encouraged other restaurant chains to follow suit. As others join the fray, it’s conceivable that you’ll need dozens of store-specific apps on your phone or watch to keep money out of the equation years from now.

    Apple Pay is hot on the heels of Starbucks. It not only bought Mobeewave, but also attracted about 5 million more users than Starbucks. This purchase is rumored to be part of Apple’s plan to take over the cashless world.

    How to Manage Security in a Cashless Society

    The banks and financial institutions behind these mobile payment apps have spent a lot of money on security. The last thing they need is a major hacking incident, which is why all of these apps are designed to never show merchants your credit card numbers and to encrypt every transaction.

    However, hackers, being hackers, are always going to find loopholes. That’s why strong passwords and adding two-factor authentication to every app are key to cashless success.

    We all know that we need a decent password, so this part is easy. But if you haven’t used 2FA yet, now is the time to start. It’s frustrating at first, yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

    Types of accounts that should always have 2FA enabled

    How fast should you prepare?

    A world totally Without cash, there are still many years to go, so it’s not like you have to run out today and buy the most expensive phone or watch on the market to run all those apps.

    But you already have a smartphone, so start playing around with different mobile payment apps to start getting used to the idea if you haven’t already.

    Here’s your homework: If you haven’t already, download a food delivery app to your phone and use it to buy dinner one night. If you prefer to get your food curbside and avoid delivery charges, find a local restaurant that has a payment app and use it for contactless food pickup the next time you dine out.

    The cash may still be there, but the technology wins. Don’t get left behind.

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