Pros and Cons of Cashless Policy to Economy Growth
In recent years, cashless policies have gained popularity worldwide, especially in developed countries, as a way to enhance the efficiency and security of financial transactions. Cashless policy, as the name implies, refers to the adoption of electronic means of payment in place of physical cash.
A cashless policy is a government or business decision to encourage or require the use of electronic payment methods, such as debit and credit cards, mobile payments, and online banking, instead of cash for financial transactions.
The goal of a cashless policy is to reduce the use of physical cash, which can be costly to produce, store, and transport, and can also be susceptible to theft and counterfeiting.
The cashless policy is aim to increase efficiency, reduce the informal economy, enhance security, and promote financial inclusiveness by providing access to financial services for those who do not have access to traditional banking systems.
This article explores the benefits of a cashless policy and how it can improve the economy, consumer experience, and financial inclusiveness.
Table of Contents
Advantages of Cashless Policy
Cashless policies are becoming more prevalent worldwide as technology advances and businesses look to streamline their operations. While some individuals may be hesitant to move away from cash, there are several advantages to the cashless policy that cannot be ignored.
- Increased Security: One of the primary advantages of a cashless policy is increased security. Electronic payment methods such as credit and debit cards, mobile payments, and digital wallets use encryption technology to protect against fraud and identity theft. This technology makes it more difficult for criminals to steal financial information or make unauthorized purchases, which can improve overall security.
- Improved Efficiency: A cashless policy also offers improved efficiency over traditional cash-based systems. Digital payment methods are faster and easier to use, allowing individuals to complete transactions quickly and easily. In addition, businesses can save time and resources by automating payment processing and reducing the need for cash handling and accounting.
- Greater Financial Inclusion: The Cashless policy can lead to greater financial inclusion, particularly for individuals who may not have access to traditional banking services. Electronic payment methods allow individuals to make transactions and access financial services from virtually anywhere, without needing to visit a physical bank branch. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals in rural or remote areas, as well as for those with disabilities or mobility issues.
- Reduced Costs: The cashless policy can also lead to reduced costs for both individuals and businesses. Electronic payment methods often come with lower transaction fees than traditional cash-based systems, which can save businesses money on payment processing. In addition, individuals may also save money on currency exchange fees when traveling internationally, as they can use electronic payment methods rather than exchanging cash.
- Greater Transparency: Electronic payment methods also offer greater transparency in financial transactions. With traditional cash-based systems, it can be difficult to track and monitor financial activity, leading to potential fraud and corruption.
Electronic payment systems, on the other hand, provide a clear record of all financial transactions, making it easier to track and identify any suspicious activity.
Disadvantages of Cashless Policy
While cashless policies have been adopted by several countries and businesses worldwide, there are also several disadvantages associated with them.
- Exclusion of Certain Groups: One of the main disadvantages of the cashless policy is the potential exclusion of certain groups from accessing financial services. In many developing countries, a significant portion of the population does not have access to electronic payment methods, such as debit and credit cards or mobile payments. This can prevent these individuals from participating in the formal economy and accessing essential services. Furthermore, elderly or low-income individuals who are not familiar with digital payment methods may find it difficult to transition to a cashless system, leading to financial exclusion.
- Increased Risk of Cybercrime: As electronic payment methods become more prevalent, the risk of cybercrime also increases. Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities in digital payment systems to steal personal and financial information, which can lead to fraudulent transactions and identity theft. This risk is particularly high in countries with weaker cybersecurity infrastructures, where electronic payment systems may be more susceptible to hacking.
- Reliance on Technology: Another disadvantage of the cashless policy is the increased reliance on technology. Electronic payment systems are vulnerable to technological failures, such as power outages or network disruptions, which can prevent individuals from accessing their funds or making transactions. In the event of a system failure, individuals may have no other means of making payments, leading to financial disruptions.
- Transaction Fees: Electronic payment methods can also be associated with transaction fees, which can be a disadvantage for individuals who make frequent or small transactions. These fees can add up and result in a significant cost for consumers, particularly in countries with high levels of poverty or income inequality.
- Privacy Concerns: As electronic payment systems become more prevalent with the cashless policy, there is also a risk of privacy violations. Electronic payment providers may collect and store personal and financial information, which can be vulnerable to hacking or misuse.
In addition, the increased use of electronic payments can lead to a loss of anonymity in financial transactions, which can compromise the privacy of individuals.
Examples of Cashless Policy
The cashless policy has been adopted by several countries and businesses worldwide, with the aim of improving efficiency, enhancing security, promoting financial inclusiveness, and reducing the informal economy.
- India’s Demonetization Policy: In November 2016, the Indian government announced a demonetization policy that aimed to tackle the country’s issues with black money, corruption, and terrorism financing. The policy involved the withdrawal of high-value currency notes and promoted the use of digital payment methods to move towards a more cashless society. The demonetization policy in India was a massive and unprecedented move that aimed to remove all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation. The policy was introduced on November 8, 2016, and the notes were demonetized the following day. The Indian government claimed that the move was an attempt to curb corruption and black money in the country and to reduce the circulation of fake currency notes.
- Impact on Cashless Policy: The demonetization policy in India had a significant impact on the country’s move towards a cashless economy. The move created a sudden and urgent need for digital payment methods, as people were left with no choice but to turn to electronic payment methods to make their transactions. This sudden increase in demand led to a surge in the use of digital payment methods, such as mobile wallets, UPI, and credit/debit cards.
- Increased Adoption of Digital Payment Methods: Following the demonetization policy, India saw a surge in the adoption of digital payment methods. Many people who had previously relied on cash for their daily transactions started using mobile wallets, UPI, and other digital payment methods to pay for their purchases. According to a report by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), digital payment transactions in India grew from 672 million in November 2016 to 1.2 billion in December 2016.
- Development of Infrastructure: To support the sudden increase in demand for digital payment methods, the Indian government launched several initiatives to improve the country’s digital payment infrastructure. This included the development of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which enabled seamless peer-to-peer payments and payments to merchants. The government also launched the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app, which allowed users to send and receive money using UPI.
- Challenges in Adoption: Despite the increased adoption of digital payment methods, there were also several challenges in the implementation of the demonetization policy. Many people, particularly those in rural areas, did not have access to digital payment infrastructure or were not familiar with how to use digital payment methods. This led to difficulties in conducting transactions and created exclusionary effects.
India’s demonetization policy had a significant impact on the country’s move towards a cashless economy. While the cashless policy created challenges in the short term, such as difficulties in conducting transactions and exclusionary effects, it also led to a surge in the adoption of digital payment methods and the development of the country’s digital payment infrastructure.
The demonetization policy demonstrated the potential for a cashless economy in India and encouraged the government and businesses to invest in the digital payment ecosystem. Today, India is one of the world’s leading digital payment markets, with a rapidly growing number of users and transactions.
The demonetization policy was a pivotal moment in India’s transition towards a cashless economy and will continue to have long-term impacts on the country’s financial landscape.
Sweden’s Cashless Society
Sweden is one of the world’s leading examples of a cashless society. The country’s citizens have been adopting digital payment methods for many years, and as a result, cash is becoming increasingly obsolete. Sweden is a country where people rarely use cash.
According to a survey conducted by Riksbank, the country’s central bank, cash transactions accounted for only 13% of all payments in 2018, with card payments and mobile payments making up the majority of the remainder.
The trend towards a cashless society in Sweden has been driven by a number of factors, including the widespread adoption of digital payment methods, the development of a robust digital payment infrastructure, and government policy that have encouraged the use of electronic payments.
Factors Driving the Trend Toward a Cashless Society in Sweden
- High Level of Technology Adoption: Sweden is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. The country has one of the highest rates of internet and smartphone usage, with the majority of the population using digital devices for their daily activities. This has made it easier for people to adopt digital payment methods, which are more convenient and accessible than traditional payment methods.
- Well-developed Digital Payment Infrastructure: Sweden has a well-developed digital payment infrastructure, with a variety of payment options available to consumers. In addition to traditional payment methods such as credit and debit cards, the country has a variety of mobile payment options, including Swish, which is a popular mobile payment service that allows users to send and receive money instantly.
- Government Policy: The Swedish government has been actively encouraging the adoption of digital payment methods. In 2017, the government announced plans to phase out cash by 2023 and has introduced measures to incentivize businesses to move away from cash transactions.
Benefits of Sweden’s Cashless Society
- Convenience: One of the biggest benefits of a cashless society is convenience. Digital payment methods are more convenient than traditional payment methods, as they can be used to make transactions quickly and easily from anywhere, without the need to carry cash.
- Safety: Cashless payments are also safer than carrying cash. Digital payment methods are more secure, as they can be protected by passwords, PINs, and other security measures.
- Better Tracking of Transactions: Digital payment methods allow for better tracking of transactions, which can be helpful in detecting fraud and other criminal activities. This can also help businesses to track their sales and inventory more effectively.
Drawbacks of Sweden’s Cashless Society
- Exclusionary Effects: While a cashless society may be convenient for some, it can also have exclusionary effects. Not everyone has access to digital payment methods, and some people may not be comfortable using them. This can create challenges for people who rely on cash for their daily transactions.
- Privacy Concerns: Digital payment methods can also raise privacy concerns. Transactions made using digital payment methods can be tracked and monitored, raising questions about privacy and data protection.
- Risk of Cybersecurity Threats: Digital payment methods are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other cybersecurity threats, which can result in financial loss and other negative consequences.
Sweden’s cashless society is a result of a combination of factors, including the widespread adoption of digital payment methods, a well-developed digital payment infrastructure, and government policies that have encouraged the use of electronic payments.
While there are benefits to a cashless society, including convenience and safety, there are also drawbacks, including exclusionary effects, privacy concerns, and the risk of cybersecurity threats. As more countries move towards a cashless policy, it is important to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of the cashless policy.
China’s Mobile Payment Dominance
China has become a world leader in mobile payments, with over 800 million people in the country using mobile payment services for their daily transactions. This trend towards a cashless society in China has been driven by a number of factors, including government policy that has encouraged the development of digital payment infrastructure and a large and growing middle class that is embracing mobile payment technology.
China’s mobile payment market is dominated by two major players: Alipay and WeChat Pay. These two platforms, which are owned by tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, respectively, have a combined market share of over 90%, making them the dominant players in the Chinese mobile payment industry.
Factors Driving the Trend Toward Mobile Payments in China
- Chinese Government Policy: The Chinese government has played a major role in driving the trend toward mobile payments. In recent years, the government has implemented a cashless policy that has encouraged the development of digital payment infrastructure, including the creation of a national payment system and the issuance of digital currency by the People’s Bank of China.
- Growing Middle Class: The growth of China’s middle class has also played a major role in driving the trend toward mobile payments. As more people have access to smartphones and other digital devices, they are increasingly using mobile payment services to make their daily transactions.
- Convenience and Security: Mobile payment services offer a level of convenience and security that traditional payment methods cannot match. With mobile payments, users can make transactions quickly and easily, without the need to carry cash or other payment methods.
Additionally, mobile payment services offer a range of security features, including encryption and two-factor authentication, which help to protect users’ financial information.
Benefits of China’s Mobile Payment Dominance
- Convenience: Mobile payments are highly convenient, allowing users to make transactions quickly and easily from anywhere, without the need to carry cash or other payment methods.
- Increased Financial Inclusion: Mobile payments have the potential to increase financial inclusion, as they provide a way for people who do not have access to traditional banking services to participate in the digital economy.
- Innovation and Competition: The dominance of Alipay and WeChat Pay in the mobile payment market has spurred innovation and competition, as other players seek to gain market share by offering new and innovative payment services.
Drawbacks of China’s Mobile Payment Dominance
- Monopoly: The dominance of Alipay and WeChat Pay in the mobile payment market has created a duopoly, which can limit competition and innovation.
- Data Privacy Concerns: Mobile payments can raise data privacy concerns, as transactions made using mobile payment services can be tracked and monitored.
- Dependency on Technology: As mobile payments become increasingly ubiquitous, there is a risk of dependency on technology. If the digital payment infrastructure were to experience a widespread outage or cyber-attack, it could have a significant impact on the economy.
China’s mobile payment dominance has been driven by a combination of government policy, a growing middle class, and the convenience and security of mobile payment services.
While there are benefits to a cashless society, including convenience and increased financial inclusion, there are also drawbacks, including concerns about data privacy and the risk of dependency on technology. As China’s mobile payment market continues to evolve, it is important to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of this trend.
United Kingdom’s Contactless Payment
The United Kingdom has seen rapid growth in contactless payment, with many consumers opting for this payment method over traditional payment methods. Contactless payment, also known as tap-and-go, allows customers to make small transactions quickly and conveniently.
This trend towards a cashless society in the UK has been driven by a number of factors, including the convenience of contactless payments and the increasing availability of contactless payment infrastructure.
Contactless payment has become a popular payment method in the United Kingdom, with the country being one of the world’s leading adopters of technology. This payment method involves using a contactless card or mobile payment app to make small transactions.
Factors Driving the Trend Toward Contactless Payment in the UK
- Convenience: Contactless payment is a highly convenient payment method, allowing customers to make transactions quickly and easily without the need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. This has made it an increasingly popular option for small transactions, such as buying a coffee or a sandwich.
- Availability of Infrastructure: The increasing availability of contactless payment infrastructure has also played a major role in driving the trend toward contactless payment in the UK. Many retailers, including supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants, now accept contactless payments, making it an increasingly viable payment option for consumers.
- Encouragement from Government: The UK government has also played a role in encouraging the adoption of contactless payment. In 2015, the government set a target to increase the use of contactless payment in the country, and since then there has been a significant increase in the number of contactless payment transactions.
Benefits of Contactless Payment in the UK
- Convenience: Contactless payment is a highly convenient payment method, allowing customers to make transactions quickly and easily without the need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. This has made it an increasingly popular option for small transactions.
- Faster Transaction Times: Contactless payments are processed much faster than traditional payment methods, as there is no need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. This has made the checkout process much faster for retailers, reducing queues and wait times.
- Increased Security: Contactless payments are highly secure, with transactions being processed using encryption and other security features. Additionally, many banks and payment providers offer fraud protection for contactless payments, providing an extra layer of security for consumers.
Drawbacks of Contactless Payment in the UK
- Vulnerability to Fraud: Contactless payment can be vulnerable to fraud, as transactions can be made without the need for a PIN or signature. This has led to concerns about the security of contactless payment, with some consumers worried about the risk of fraud and identity theft.
- Dependency on Technology: As contactless payments become increasingly ubiquitous, there is a risk of dependency on technology. If the contactless payment infrastructure were to experience a widespread outage or cyber-attack, it could have a significant impact on the economy.
- Accessibility Issues: Contactless payment can present accessibility issues for people with disabilities, such as those who have difficulty using a contactless card or mobile payment app. This has led to concerns about the potential for the exclusion of vulnerable groups in society.
Contactless payment has become an increasingly popular payment method in the United Kingdom, driven by factors such as convenience, the availability of infrastructure, and encouragement from the government.
While there are benefits to a cashless society, including convenience and faster transaction times, there are also drawbacks, including concerns about the security of contactless payment, the risk of dependency on technology, and potential accessibility issues. As the trend towards contactless payment continues to grow, it is important to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of this.
United States Shift to Electronic Payments
The United States has been a leader in the adoption of new technology, and the shift to electronic payments is no exception. In recent years, the country has seen a significant move away from cash and checks, with more and more people opting for electronic payment options.
In the United States, electronic payments have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. With the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices, people have been able to access a wide range of digital payment options, including
- Mobile Wallets: Mobile wallets are a popular way to make electronic payments in the United States. These digital wallets allow people to store their credit and debit card information on their mobile devices, making it easier and more convenient to make purchases on the go. Examples of mobile wallets include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, among others.
- Peer-to-Peer Payment Apps: Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps are another popular way to make electronic payments in the United States. These apps allow people to send and receive money directly from their bank accounts or credit cards, without the need for cash or checks. Examples of P2P payment apps include Venmo, Cash App, and Zelle, among others.
- Contactless Cards: Contactless cards, also known as tap-and-go or wave-and-pay cards, are another popular way to make electronic payments in the United States. These cards use near-field communication (NFC) technology to allow people to make payments by simply tapping their card on a contactless-enabled terminal. Examples of contactless cards in the United States include Visa PayWave, Mastercard Contactless, and American Express ExpressPay, among others.
Benefits of Electronic Payments
The shift to electronic payments in the United States has come with a range of benefits for consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole. Some of the key benefits of electronic payments include:
- Convenience: Electronic payments offer a level of convenience that cash and checks simply can’t match. With electronic payments, people can make purchases and send money from anywhere, at any time, without the need for cash or checks.
- Security: Electronic payments are also more secure than cash and checks, as they are less susceptible to theft and fraud. Many electronic payment options also come with additional security features, such as biometric authentication and tokenization, that make them even more secure.
- Cost Savings: Electronic payments can also be more cost-effective than cash and checks, as they eliminate the need for businesses to handle and transport physical currency. This can help to reduce the costs associated with cash handlings, such as labor and security expenses.
- Improved Efficiency: Electronic payments also offer improved efficiency for businesses, as they can be processed more quickly and accurately than cash and checks. This can help to reduce errors and delays and allow businesses to operate more efficiently.
The United States shift to electronic payments has brought with it a wide range of benefits for consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
From the convenience of mobile wallets to the security of contactless cards, electronic payment options have made it easier and more efficient than ever to make purchases and transfer money. As the country continues to embrace new technologies, it is likely that electronic payments will only become more popular in the years to come.
The benefits of a cashless policy are numerous and varied. Cashless policy can help to improve efficiency, enhance security, increase financial inclusiveness, and stimulate economic growth. As such, governments and businesses around the world are increasingly adopting the cashless policy as a means of improving their financial systems and driving economic development.
However, it is essential to ensure that cashless policies are implemented carefully and with the necessary infrastructure in place to avoid excluding vulnerable populations and disrupting economic activity.
As more countries and financial institutions adopt the cashless policy, it is important to address the frequently asked questions about this type of policy.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about cashless policy:
What is a cashless policy?
A cashless policy is a monetary transaction system that discourages the use of cash in favor of digital payment methods. It seeks to reduce the circulation of physical cash and encourage the use of electronic forms of payment.
What are the benefits of a cashless policy?
Cashless policies offer a number of benefits, including improved security, greater convenience, and faster transaction times. By reducing the need for cash, these policies can also help reduce corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering.
What are the risks associated with cashless policies?
One of the primary risks associated with a cashless policy is the potential for data breaches and cyber-attacks. Additionally, cashless policies can be exclusionary, as they may prevent people who do not have access to electronic payment systems from participating in the economy.
What are some examples of countries that have implemented cashless policies?
Several countries, including Sweden, China, India, and the United Kingdom, have implemented cashless policies in some form. These policies range from partial cashless systems to fully cashless societies.
What impact has the CBN cashless policy had on the development of the banking sector in Nigeria?
The CBN cashless policy has had a significant impact on the development of the banking sector in Nigeria. It has helped to increase financial inclusion, reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation, and promote the use of electronic payment systems. It has also led to the development of new financial technologies and the expansion of the mobile banking sector.
What is the future of cashless policy?
As technology continues to advance, it is likely that cashless policy will become more widespread. While there are risks associated with these policies, they also offer significant benefits in terms of security, convenience, and efficiency. It is important for policymakers to balance these factors and ensure that cashless policies are inclusive and accessible to all members of society.
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