There has been an interesting development in Denmark this past week, with the country's government proposing that certain businesses such as petrol stations and restaurants should no longer be legally required to accept cash.
Denmark's recommendation has been viewed as the first step toward a cashless economy, and if approved by parliament, retailers could begin turning away customers who can't pay electronically as early as January 2016. Seems a bold move, but it's a nation in which a cash-free system could work - according to the Danish Payment Council, only a quarter of last year's retail transactions were paid for by cash.
The proposed transition to an all-electronic high street has been accelerated by the advancement of other payment methods. Debit or credit cards have become ubiquitous in many peoples' everyday lives, and with the emergence of contactless payments via card, key fob or indeed smartphone, there's arguably less need to carry cash than ever before.
It's clear to see how such a revolutionary change would suit governments - physical notes and coins are expensive to produce, difficult to track and a nightmare when it comes to tax evasion. But the move to a cash-free world could also have far-reaching consequences, with organisations such as The Better Than Cash Alliance - which is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - claiming that "the shift from cash to electronic payments can improve the livelihoods of low-income people by advancing financial inclusion."
A fascinating topic, and perhaps unnerving for the elderly population or others who rely on the benefits and indeed privacy of cash. So let's open up the discussion by asking you to share your thoughts. Are we ready for cash-less high streets? Let us know what you think using the comments facility below.
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