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”Huge potential in future cash”

 

The truth is when it comes to cash, there seems to be only one player who still loves it. And it happens to be the users themselves.

 

In a world of digital payments, no one anymore talks about cash. At the same time, the use of money is still extensive and in many countries even growing. There is actually an enormous business potential in making money digital in order to also retain its greatest advantage: a unique opportunity for secure payments that at the same time protect personal integrity.
But why should anyone care about cash? In our digital age, all the focus is now instead on developing and launching new exciting electronic payment solutions. Paying with coins and banknotes today feels almost out of date and backward-looking, and you’ll almost be lucky if in 2022 in Sweden you find a shop that wants to accept banknotes and coins at all. Sweden, and a few other countries, are on the extreme side and Central Banks are taking steps to avoid a total cashless society.
And why would the major players in today’s payment market place any interest in cash at all? For the banks today, cash is just a necessary evil, there is no money to be made here. For them, providing a functioning market for coins and banknotes is only associated with costs. It costs to count the money, it costs to transport the money in a safe way and the money is still at risk for various attacks. Furthermore, it is just a costly service to the banks to provide a network of ATMs where people can withdraw their cash.
And among the big credit card companies, if possible, the lack of interest in a cash customer is even greater. In a world of plastic cards, there is no place for rustling banknotes and rattling coins, which also, by extension, limits their entire underlying business idea. Through the use of debit and credit cards, each transaction becomes traceable to each individual customer, which of course is a gold mine for collecting data on purchasing. Data then being used for various marketing purposes in order to eventually make even more business from already existing plastic card customers.
But statistics from many industrial countries show that over the last ten years the circulation of banknotes and coins has actually increased in volume.
Now, it’s actually not just consumers and end users who obviously love to still use money. Although few talk about cash within the traditional banking and finance market, it is worth noting that the American tech giant Apple uses the very word ”cash” in its latest unique investment in electronic payments. The Apple Cash service, which is still only available to Apple Pay users in the United States, makes it possible to send money between Apple Cash users via the phone’s messaging app. Now it’s not about ”real” cash, the money being sent is linked and traceable to a bank account, but Apple’s use of the word ”cash” rather shows that cash as an expression is important and the first real sign that cash users mean business.
But why do so many people still want to continue paying with cash in an increasingly digital world? Banknotes and coins are the world’s oldest means of payment and, of course, along the way it has built up a lot of trust with a high level of confidence among the user. A person who pays with cash knows that it always works and is accepted. But a further essential quality – and also a completely unique one – of cash is that it is completely analog. As soon as a banknote or coin leaves the bank office or ATM, they can no longer be linked to a specific user.
In an ever more connected and monitored world, there is at the same time an increasingly strong growing trend about the need to protect one’s personal privacy. And when it comes to payments and consumption, today there is basically only one way to leave no electronic traces behind: by using cash.
Today there are patented technological solutions to make cash completely digital, while maintaining the benefits of high trust and complete personal privacy. The solution lies in using the ATM and payment infrastructures that are already in place today for debit and credit cards. The basis of the system is a personal connection to a bank account where the withdrawal originally takes place. But once the withdrawal is made and charged to the card, the digital cash no longer has any personal connection to the user. When the consumer then makes a purchase at the payment-terminal in a shop the cash transfer made is checked and registered offline like traditional money. But no personal data is exchanged about who actually transfers the money and no contact with the consumer’s bank is required. The fact is that digital cash offers a unique opportunity for secure payments that at the same time protect personal integrity.
Now is the time to bring money into the digital age in order to maintain its main advantages: secure payments that at the same time protects personal integrity. So the expression ”cash is king” is highly relevant again, not least because there is also enormous business potential in a huge existing cash market.

 

Jan Westlund
Mikael Aronowitsch

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