The end of cash will pro­duce ca­su­al­ties

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This ap­peared in the Win­nipeg Free Press: Re­mem­ber the joy of get­ting your al­lowance as a child, and how the jin­gling of a few coins made your pock­ets heavy with pur­chas­ing po­ten­tial?

Coins and bills are des­tined to be­come more a mem­ory and less a re­al­ity, thanks to a rapid shift to dig­i­tal pay­ments. In fact, tap-and-pay cards are be­com­ing so dom­i­nant that some busi­nesses now re­ject cash.

The fast-food chain Iq Food Co. has five lo­ca­tions in Toronto and Van­cou­ver, none of which ac­cept coins or bills. It’s the same at the two Mad Radish res­tau­rants in Ot­tawa.

A re­cent Cana­dian Press story re­ported the rapid rise of tap-and-pay meth­ods in Canada: 30.8 per cent of fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions in 2016, grow­ing to 39.5 per cent in 2017 and ex­pected to reach 50 per cent in 2018. The story in­cluded a pre­dic­tion that, by 2030, cash pur­chases will com­prise only 10 per cent of all money spent in Canada.

As we move to­ward an econ­omy where 90 per cent of fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions won’t in­volve cash, the fu­ture of funds will un­furl with im­pli­ca­tions for our day-to-day lives. Dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions are faster, a re­lief to any­one who has been stuck in a gro­cery line be­hind a cus­tomer ex­plor­ing the deep re­cesses of a pocket or purse.

An­other ad­van­tage is that all dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions are recorded by our banks and card providers, a boon for our house­hold record-keep­ing and at in­come tax time.

As an­other plus, the de­cline of hard cur­rency will be a blow to the black mar­ket of ser­vice providers who dodge taxes by work­ing for cash, no re­ceipts given. It will be more dan­ger­ous to wink and ask for un­der-the ta­ble pay­ment when money con­sists of dig­i­tally trans­ferred funds that can be traced by Canada Rev­enue Agency au­di­tors.

There are also draw­backs. It’s eas­ier for thieves to cap­ture and mis­use our fi­nan­cial-card in­for­ma­tion than it is for them to steal cash from our care­fully guarded wal­lets. Also, some in­sti­tu­tions charge for use of debit and credit cards.

The move to a dig­i­tal econ­omy has im­pli­ca­tions. Yes, there are good rea­sons for mov­ing away from cash, but try ex­plain­ing them to the neigh­bour­hood kid who set up a lemon­ade stand at the cor­ner of your street.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.