Could we be heading towards a cashless society?

The last few years have seen many new technologies involving the way we pay for consumer goods, such as the chip and pin innovations, money transfers between mobiles and the enabling of smartphones to be able to process payments. However, we have not yet seen evidence that we might be heading towards a completely cashless society. This could all be about to change, as the recent developments in Canada from BA International, a banknote printing operation in Ottawa owned by Giesecke & Devrient in Germany, state that they are effectively ceasing the production of printing currency from the New Year. This means that as of January first, there will be no more Canadian currency printed. So why have they stopped and does this mean that we are one step closer to a completely cashless society?

300px-MintChips_and_AccessoriesAccording to BA International, the reason for the non production is down to the decrease in demand for new bills, and they put this down in part to the new plastic currencies having a much longer life expectancy.

Here on Shoppersbase, we featured these longer lasting plastic currency some time ago, where in Australia, plastic money is already proving to be a huge hit with surfing enthusiasts, who say that having plastic money means they can take their cash with them whilst they hit the waves, and not have to worry about it getting wet.

There are some concerns however with plastic money, the fact that it can melt is one problem, but when the federal government was asked by the Canadian press (in a FIOA request) about the bills melting, they cited national security concerns as their reason for not answering.

xlarge2-300x168But is appears that people are already getting used to the idea of a cashless society, as a survey conducted by Paypal Canada revealed that 56% of Canadians would prefer using a digital wallet then cash already. And with these numbers, it makes sense for the Royal Canadian Mint to slowly release the MintChip. The MintChip is a form of digital money that is only exchanged electronically. A MintChip is a secure smart card chip which can be integrated into an SD card for easier connections to computers and mobiles. The card itself has a private key which is signed by the Canadian Mint, and can then be used to secure transactions.

As more and more businesses and industry rely on digital money, it is presumed that the physical money supply will slowly diminish, and services will be paid for online, or by using smartphones or some form of electronic device. This will essentially leave our future generation with a low supply of physical cash, and an abundance of technology for digital currency.

One success story using digital money is London’s Oyster Card system, in which passengers basically top up their travel card electronically without the need for contact or physical money exchanging hands.

So we will have to think up some new money saving sayings, as there may not be any pennies or pounds to look after very soon!

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