A cashless society: this is no longer a science fiction scenario (carte blanche)
A society without cash in the next five years? N26 is convinced of this. The covid-19 pandemic has proven to us that we are ready to accelerate the process and achieve it in shorter time frames than any expert has ever imagined. In fact, we are already there. We just don't realize it yet. Today, withdrawing money is no longer a daily gesture, it is a chore. And soon vending machines will be replaced by our phone, just like Netflix replaced our old DVD collection.
A cashless society may look like the backdrop to a sci-fi movie, but with such a large portion of the population switching quickly to digital payments to avoid coming into contact with cash, seen as less hygienic , the idea takes a big step towards reality. According to a study by N26, 66% of Belgians said they already prefer to opt for contactless payments. So why not go all the way?
During the coronavirus crisis, N26 noticed that it was the number of transactions made at an ATM that decreased the most: 46%. Card payments saw the biggest increase, rising 60%. Even with deconfinement, ATM transactions are still nearly 25% less frequent than before the crisis erupted.
And it's not just a question of age. People over 45 also prefer cashless payments. For older generations, ATM transactions are still down 10% from the pre-crisis period, while card payments are only down 2% and e-commerce payments have even increased. by 10%.
N26 noticed that the number of transactions made at an ATM has decreased the most: 46%.
You can feel that there is change in the air. What would a world without cash look like? Forget that time when you had to rush to find an ATM because the store only takes cash. Where you had to withdraw € 20 or € 50 for a purchase of € 6. Those days are finally over. You will never have to change currency in a foreign country or carry a large amount of cash again. It will also save money, as banks will no longer be able to charge fees for withdrawals abroad. A simple card can do all of this, and in the future even these cards will gradually be replaced by smartphone payments.
A world without cash will also be much better armed against crime and corruption. Money can no longer change hands without a trace being made, so no more illegal transactions can take place. Thefts aimed at emptying the counters or cash registers will become unnecessary because there is no more cash to take. As banks invest in the highest standards of cybersecurity and data protection, armed robberies will no longer happen - the world will become a safer place.
These are huge benefits for society that will be triggered by being fully cashless. But these are not the only ones. Worrying about our finances will be less of a problem. Technology should streamline and simplify your life. N26 challenges the industry and helps clients manage their money in a way that matches their needs, lifestyle and goals. Stop waiting in line at your local branch. More and more bank branches are closing as we become more familiar with online and digital banking, because planning your day around a visit to the bank is out of place in our modern way of life. It's only a matter of time before online banking takes over completely and saves us precious time.
Do you remember the last time you saw a checkbook?
Last but not least, it will make a big difference for all kinds of charitable foundations. In a fully cashless society, we can expect charitable giving to be made with more intention and generosity. Donations will also be able to cross borders more easily and can be set up on a regular basis and become routine, which will expand the possibilities to give and allow us to support causes we really care about, all over the world and in a more secure way. .
Once we remove the cash from our company, we will remember it with nostalgia when we come across old coins or old banknotes at the museum. There was a time when people transacted money by writing a check. Do you remember the last time you saw a checkbook? Most millennials have never even heard of them or only know them from old movies. No one is missing checks these days and so will coins and notes in the near future. Being without loquid all over the world doesn't really sound like the backdrop of a sci-fi movie. This will be our way of "long live and prosper" in the near future.
By Jérémie Rosselli, Managing Director of N26 for Belgium, France and Luxembourg.