While Sweden is the most advanced nation toward a cashless society, America, though far behind, is moving in that direction. Increasing numbers of restaurants and retailers are now snubbing the lowly dollar bill. SweetGreen, a salad chain, for instance, refused cash and telling customers they can only pay with mobile payments or cards. Also, some newer vending machines only take a card or a mobile wallet.
Though the U.S. Treasury is fine with cashless, and allows businesses to set their own policies, some states, like Massachusetts still require businesses to accept cash.
“What we’ve seen is a push toward electric payments because of convenience, especially for Generations X and Y and onward,” said Greg Burch, vice president of strategic initiatives as Ingenico Group, which makes payment systems for merchants. “The phone has become more personal than the wallet has.”
While cashless is still at the “experimental level” in the U.S., more stores will be adding mobile payment options and payment apps. Merchants like cashless because they don’t have the cost of storing and transporting bills and coins. It also reduces the risk of physical theft. The main downside is the loss of anonymity of consumers. There is no paper trail with cash. Also, with one out of 13 Americans not having a bank account, stores that refuse cash may be effectively shutting out many lower-income customers who rely on cash.
Though cash isn’t going away any time soon, some people think the U.S. should get rid of its cash. It costs the U.S. taxpayer $200 billion each year to keep cash in circulation, according to a Tufts University study. Plus the U.S. is “digitally ready” for cashless. Perhaps there is something in the psyche of Americans makes them less willing to give up their cash. After all, there is a time coming when the Bible prophecy about religious laws that prevent buying and selling will be fulfilled. There is no way to 100% prevent anyone from buying or selling unless there is no cash as tender in society.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17.