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Author Topic: China Can’t Afford a Cashless Society (Perhaps No One Can)  (Read 370 times)
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September 13, 2018, 10:43:36 AM
 #1

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A mania for mobile payments is leaving the poor behind.

As payment by phone accelerates in China, the reach of the biggest digital corporations are making its banking regulators uneasy. In Chinese cities, paying via the ubiquitous WeChat platform is now so common that vendors often have trouble making change for cash, or sometimes refuse to take it altogether. That’s prompted pushback from the state-owned banks. Anhui province’s branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), recently began a working group to tackle the problem. Wang Yazhou, a senior banking official in Hefei, the province’s capital, commented a thorough cleanup was needed because refusing cash payments would be likely to have a very negative impact.

Regulators like Wang are right to be concerned. The growing “cashlessness” of Chinese cities threatens to expose underlying issues of economic instability. Mobile payments are carving out lines between young and old, and between the prosperous urban middle class and those left behind by the boom times. Mismanaged moves to mobile payments by municipalities could also lock the elderly and the poor out of the consumption economy—just when the Chinese government needs as many spenders as possible to drive forward the country’s economic transformation.

The policy question being debated is whether mobile payments can legally substitute for the renminbi, China’s currency. Specifically, regulators are looking to see if “cashless city” initiatives and the like violate China’s Renminbi Management Regulations. This law contains a clause that distinctly defines the renminbi as “the legal currency of the People’s Republic of China” and says that “within China’s national borders, the usage of renminbi for transactions by work units or individuals cannot be revoked.”

At the same time, the numbers suggest that cashlessness is rising and here to stay. January 2017 data reported by the Cyberspace Administration of China showed that 469 million users were registered on a mobile payment platform, and found an increase of 31.2 percent in total registered users compared to 2016 numbers. The China Internet Network Administration Center, another government bureau that collects usage data, indicated that the proportion of mobile payment usage in transactions rose from 57.7 percent to 67.5 percent from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017. In the cities, vendors ranging from brand-name stores to street food stalls have slapped colorful QR Code stickers from Alipay and Tencent—China’s two giant internet firms, which dominate online payments—near cash registers.

Bolstered by these promising numbers, the mega-corporations that run the cashless transactions applications are ramping up promotional events and municipal lobbying initiatives. In the early 2010s, online vendors pioneered “shopping holidays,” events such as Singles’ Day (Nov. 11—four lonely ones in a row) when purchases peaked thanks to deep discounts. The new events build on those, further normalizing cashless payments. In August 2017, Alibaba, Alipay’s parent company, rolled out “Cashless City Week” events in its home city of Hangzhou, as well as in Wuhan, Fuzhou, and Tianjin. Tencent’s WeChat Pay followed suit with a similar promotion that played off the auspicious date of Aug. 8, naming it an annual “Cashless Day.” However, bowing to pressure from Wuhan’s PBOC branch, wording for these promotions were later changed to “better respect consumer choice” in payment platform availability.

In many cities, cashlessness is so common that panhandlers and street musicians use WeChat and Alipay QR codes to ask for change. But these anecdotal cases obscure some of the class-related issues that cashlessness can’t fix, and may worsen. The 2017 World Bank Global Findex database, which measures financial inclusion, estimated that some 200 million Chinese rural citizens remain unbanked, or outside of the formal financial system. Cashless payment systems by design require formal enrollment in banks, which are then tied to the mobile payment platforms that WeChat and Alibaba host.

When apps are built on the assumption that residents of a specific community are formally enrolled in a bank or financial institution, the unenrolled are simply locked out of being able to pay. As a 2017 report from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor indicates, close to 70 percent of rural Chinese remain offline and require a compelling reason to acquire the smartphone and bank account needed to utilize mobile payments. As these digital platforms attempt to become the default form of payment, China is facing a critical challenge to get its unbanked citizens caught up to financial inclusion standards.

The question of how accessible cashless payments truly are within China is an active, vibrant debate within domestic policy circles. A 2017 op-ed series in the Beijing News raised concerns that shifting invoicing systems to cashless ones without consulting rural communities or individuals would introduce risks: In communities that are cash-only, if individuals find themselves shut out of the financial system, they will be unable to conduct economic transactions related to agricultural equipment, seeds, and other purchases for farming.

Even as regulators and finance analysts worry about these gaps, Alibaba and Tencent remain determined to push cashlessness further into everyday life. Chinese firms are borrowing from the tactics and lingo of Silicon Valley CEOs determined to sell their products as socially valuable. In rural areas, both companies are investing resources and relying on their platforms’ unique characteristics to try to capture potential market shares of rural users of mobile banking products. Alibaba, which grew its revenues via the Taobao shopping site and supply chains, is in the tail end of a 2014 to 2019 10 billion renminbi spending spree to build e-commerce service centers in rural China. Tencent, on the other hand, relies on WeChat’s role connecting migrant workers to family members in rural areas to get more mobile payment users onboard.

Older users are another critical demographic targeted in cashless platform promotion campaigns. Because older users tend to struggle learning to use mobile devices, for example, Alibaba takes advantage of filial piety to encourage children to recruit parents and elders into getting on the apps. In a recent campaign to get more elderly users up to speed on using Alipay, Alibaba mimicked the language of a heartfelt child-to-parent note as an introduction to a tutorial on setting up mobile payments.

Alibaba and Tencent can issue lofty mission statements about bringing more users into the fold. But to them, the size of coverage disparities aren’t an overall problem as long as urban users keep the money flowing through their respective apps. They lose nothing substantial when lower-income, lower-technology, or unbanked users struggle to participate, because mobile transactions are still a massively growing sector. However, PBOC branches do, because lower spending and renminbi circulation reflects poorly on different provinces’ economic numbers—and, eventually, on the economic health of the whole country. When corporate needs and government objectives clash in China, however, the government tends to win. Yet the attraction of investment and the glamor of tech may give the payment firms the leverage they need to keep reaching for revenue opportunities.

How Chinese individuals, businesses, and communities can adapt to the prevalence of ubiquitous cashlessness will determine survival in a burgeoning but unequal digital economy. If China goes cashless without widening the opportunities to participate, the end result may exacerbate economic inequality in China even further—and leave rural provinces frustrated even as the country’s biggest corporations thrive.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/11/china-cant-afford-a-cashless-society/

....

This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

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September 13, 2018, 11:24:39 AM
 #2

China is slowly entering the old society, and young people will soon get used to cashless transactions, but some old people will encounter some problems when using smart phones.
For a long time to come, China's multiple payment and settlement methods will continue to exist together!

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September 13, 2018, 11:54:19 AM
 #3

In my opinion it's always the government that should be the one to blame, especially with how you as government are responsible for the fact that there are different levels of economical exclusion. In the last couple of years not even one single thing has been done to at least address the gap between various classes in their economy. It seems to me that they are just thinking that problems will solve themselves, but this is obviously not the case as everyone can clearly see.

And yes, Bitcoin and other crypto currencies should be and are definitely part of the casshless revolution, but in lesser form. The thing is that crypto in general isn't mainstream ready, and you are dealing with significant levels of volatility which isn't helping either. It will remain a niche for at least a couple of more year, and that allows centralized payment platforms to keep gaining dominance.

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September 13, 2018, 12:01:21 PM
 #4

...
This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind?
<snip>

Paper money shortage is nowhere mentioned in your quote or the article linked. Not sure what are you referring to.
The problem described is quite the opposite. Cash money is becoming unwanted by merchants, which could become a massive problem for estimated 200 million of unbanked Chinese + it undermines Renminbi as a legal currency.

... In the last couple of years not even one single thing has been done to at least address the gap between various classes in their economy.

Are you implying that there shouldn't be any gap and we all should live on the same wealth level?


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September 13, 2018, 12:09:05 PM
 #5

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.


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September 13, 2018, 12:52:27 PM
 #6

The willingness and the eagerness of the society itself to transition from a cash-based society to a cashless society is what's actually hurting the unbanked, not the country or the regulators themselves. Knowing how fast, convenient and secure cashless payments are, it's a no-brainer that most people would opt to use it rather than receive coins and paper that could potentially be stolen and hard to get back. The downside is, some people, especially the unbanked are left behind in this cause; it takes a lot of requirements and financial capacity to get yourself banking services.

it's kinda sad to think that there's nothing we can do to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, and sometimes, compromises hurts all sides of the story, too.




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September 13, 2018, 01:41:47 PM
 #7


No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

It depends on the context. If the discussion is focusing on the differences in physical and electronic payments from the point of view of people who struggle to use the latter (like the eldery and the poor in this article), then Bitcoin is a part of cashless society. But on the other hand, Bitcoin is not controlled by banks and governments, unlike electronic fiat, it was originally described by Satoshi as electronic cash because he wanted to distinguish it from centralized payment systems, so in this sense Bitcoin is the opposite of cashless society.

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September 13, 2018, 02:22:31 PM
 #8

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.


There will be no cashless society,this is not happening now and forever as virtual money has a limited power and needed internet to access,while paper money is indeed to be in action anytime everytime as it be in need.Japan accepted bitcoin and make it as legal tender but yet they still uses Yen because of this reasons so btter not to expect a cashless society instead expect a combination of this both in future uses
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September 13, 2018, 02:54:30 PM
 #9

Not accepting cash is of course worng for now, but I guess the shops should simply hold some funds specifically for giving change to people. I am sure they all know the average number of daily customers, average spedning rate and how much of which banknotes is needed to pay them. It looks more like an illusionary problem. Yes, surely cryptos will count as cahless payment here as well.
I don't see the economical problem with fiat here, since people are mainly using wechat for payments and are probably using it for mibile payments in the same Chinese currency. The issue with poor people without smartphones can also be resolved naturally, because I am sure that poor and wealthy people are shopping in different stores anyway.

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September 13, 2018, 03:15:29 PM
 #10

....

This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

The fact still remains that any country that is campaigning for a complete cashless economy is only living in the world of form as what they are doing is far from reality. There is no way cash can be eradicated. The only thing that can be done is a gradual reduction in it other than the complete one that the Chinese government is going. I remember when such was about to be introduced into the country, it was a gradual one starting from the states that are more populated and focusing on the educated class and two years down the line, some people are still not touched while some citizens don't have any idea of what a cashless economy is all about.

To the people blaming the private sector, I would say its as a result of ignorance. They should channel their energy to the government that came with the policy in which the private sector as law abiding must fall in line if they still want to be in business. The private sector should even be appreciated the more because its on their platforms that they make the transactions possible while government makes the policy, it sometimes fails to put the necessary infrastructures in place to ensure a seamless transition which is what is being witnessed now.




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September 13, 2018, 03:24:05 PM
 #11

"Paper money shortage"?  I've never heard that term before, and I think it's a pretty ridiculous concept.  Paper money isn't pegged to gold anymore, so it's not like governments can't just print more.

We're in for a cashless society I think.  I have little doubt about that, and I don't even think it's something governments have to push very hard.  People, from what I've seen, much prefer to use their debit card or smartphone to pay for even the smallest transactions--especially the younger folks.  That article made a good point about the elderly being squeezed out of the economy, but that's a problem that should work itself out with time.  As far ask I know, China has not yet eliminated physical money so those geriatric folks can still spend their paper money.

I don't think Chinese businesses ought to refuse cash payments.  That's nuts in my opinion, but then again China is a nutty society.

As I've said before, I have mixed feelings about going cashless, mainly because of the lack of anonymity with electronic payments.  I don't like that at all.  Plus you're screwed temporarily if you lose your phone or debit card.  It's happened to me when I didn't have cash on hand, and it sucks.

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September 13, 2018, 04:36:21 PM
 #12

Are you implying that there shouldn't be any gap and we all should live on the same wealth level?

I nowhere even mentioned that.

My point basically is that governments should stimulate those who aren't capable of catching up with the economical trends themselves. If you look at how the lower class in economical terms hasn't gone through any sort of improvement throughout the last decades, it's safe to say that it won't ever happen if you wait for it. Don't you think the government should be a stimulating factor here?

It's China that we're talking about, so the group of affected people in terms of numbers is more than what we can even think of right now. Imagine what economical boost the Chinese economy will experience when you get those people to 'rank up' and have them be part of the modern economy.

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September 13, 2018, 04:45:46 PM
 #13

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.

Sweden is close to that:

Quote
Just 2 percent of the total value of transactions in Sweden consist of cash, and this is expected to decline to less than half a percent by 2020, according to research by Capgemini and BNP Paribas.

Of course, those are measured in value so percentage wise based on raw numbers it's close to 10% but still...it can be done.

And China and USA are not the best countries for such a plan, smaller countries with higher density, more urbanized and do this a lot easier. For a total cashless society,my bet would be on Singapore

There will be no cashless society,this is not happening now and forever as virtual money has a limited power and needed internet to access,while paper money is indeed to be in action anytime everytime as it be in need.


20 years ago we had problems with mobile coverage away from the capital over a 10 km radius.
Now I'm cursing the mobile company when I only have 3G in the middle of the forest 100 km away from a village  Grin

Times change

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September 13, 2018, 06:37:42 PM
 #14

A cashless society doesn't mean mobile payment. ATMs, cards are all part of a cashless society. Scriptural money is one of the best examples. Which country doesn't have a single ATM, nobody with a card? Does a country without a scriptural money exist again?
A poor can even use a Payment terminal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y43kdAgUFNg

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September 13, 2018, 08:23:24 PM
 #15

My point basically is that governments should stimulate those who aren't capable of catching up with the economical trends themselves. If you look at how the lower class in economical terms hasn't gone through any sort of improvement throughout the last decades, it's safe to say that it won't ever happen if you wait for it. Don't you think the government should be a stimulating factor here?

How should the government encourage people to start using only digital method of payments? I think that there are a few ways and each country will do it differently. We can either try educating people (expensive and it doesn't guarantee 100% success since many will simply ignore it) or forcing people by switching over completely to digital cash. It will be much easier to do since smartphones are becoming more and more popular along with cashless payments. The elderly are the biggest problem. Most of them still feel unsafe about modern technology.

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September 13, 2018, 08:38:38 PM
 #16

...
I nowhere even mentioned that.

OK, the way you phrased it made me think you see existence of the wealth gap as a problem.

My point basically is that governments should stimulate those who aren't capable of catching up with the economical trends themselves.

My general impression is that vast majority of government stimulations are waste of money, can do more bad than good and are often simply unfair (ie when you take person's A tax money to train and subsidise B, so that B can out-compete A on job market).

If you look at how the lower class in economical terms hasn't gone through any sort of improvement throughout the last decades, it's safe to say that it won't ever happen if you wait for it.

You've lost me here completely. Are you honestly not seeing the progress in western world and globally (with few small exemptions) in terms of quality and comfort of life in the past few decades? No more illiteracy, virtually everyone with access to electricity/water/internet/sewer systems, even homeless junkies have smartphones, and the best one: lack of food is no longer a major problem for the poor - excess consumption and obesity is.

Seriously? No improvement?

...
I don't think Chinese businesses ought to refuse cash payments.  That's nuts in my opinion, but then again China is a nutty society.

It boggles my mind why would any shop keeper refuse to take cash. Even if it's small %, that's always a profit. It could have something to do with either security (higher risk of robbery) or, more likely, strict regulations around handling cash (more complex bookkeeping, you have to make occasional trips to the bank to deposit etc), or maybe it's about counterfeit money risk...

Around here some business would give you small discount if you pay cash and don't require receipt Wink

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September 13, 2018, 09:00:28 PM
 #17

Until recently, the forum gave an example with China, where people quite actively switch to non-cash forms of payment. Yes, until some time the introduction of non-cash payments is useful and necessary. However, no state can fully switch to non-cash settlements in the near future. Also, no society will be able to switch to using only crypto currency. There will always be all forms of calculation.

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September 13, 2018, 09:15:21 PM
 #18

...However, no state can fully switch to non-cash settlements in the near future.

Why exactly? Absolutely vast majority of transactions are already non-cash. All the government needs to do is to make sure everyone is banked, meaning bank (and payment app providers) cannot refuse you as a customer, freeze/terminate your account for no reason.

So the state could do it, but they won't probably for 2 reasons:

- some elderly people have no experience of non-cash technology and it could be to hard for them to switch
- "safety valve", cash is needed for crime (drugs, hookers and alike) and having total control and transparency of people's finance could backfire badly. It's actually healthy to keep some level of non-serious crime and allow people to vent-out.

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September 13, 2018, 10:12:12 PM
 #19

"Paper money shortage"?  I've never heard that term before, and I think it's a pretty ridiculous concept.  Paper money isn't pegged to gold anymore, so it's not like governments can't just print more.
Well,its paying very well isn't it,now that infinite number of dollars are printed and yet the entire world is stuck in a recession. Paper Money shortage means that there's not enough notes in the economy to survive which makes no sense and isn't even a proper term.

We're in for a cashless society I think.  I have little doubt about that, and I don't even think it's something governments have to push very hard.  People, from what I've seen, much prefer to use their debit card or smartphone to pay for even the smallest transactions--especially the younger folks.  That article made a good point about the elderly being squeezed out of the economy, but that's a problem that should work itself out with time.  As far ask I know, China has not yet eliminated physical money so those geriatric folks can still spend their paper money.
We are not in a cashless society. Yeah we use credit cards, paypal,google pay/samsung pay whatever, but paper money runs deep. These digital payments are just a tip of an iceberg. But if this recession keeps going on,cash is gonna get hard to attain, people will only use digital payments and save hard cash, if things become worse,lord forbid.

I don't think Chinese businesses ought to refuse cash payments.  That's nuts in my opinion, but then again China is a nutty society.
Unless china forces them to,they won't. China is nutty, but going cashless won't be the best option for now. They know that they are in a bad place right now.

As I've said before, I have mixed feelings about going cashless, mainly because of the lack of anonymity with electronic payments.  I don't like that at all.  Plus you're screwed temporarily if you lose your phone or debit card.  It's happened to me when I didn't have cash on hand, and it sucks.
What do you mean by lack of anonymity? Cash was never fully anonymous. There could be different Point of views that you maybe talking from, but going cashless might help people survive this recession shit.


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September 13, 2018, 10:46:05 PM
 #20

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.

Even we grow more in terms of technology, I can’t still imagine this world without cash because its really convenient to have cash on your wallet. Governmern will not support this cashless society, cryptocurrency is just here to make faster transactions around the world and we should be happy for this kind of technology.

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September 13, 2018, 11:04:47 PM
 #21

The use of cash along with other payments is necessary. Not every place is well developed to use payments on smartphone devices. Even in developed countries like the US or European countries, cash is still used.
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September 13, 2018, 11:12:26 PM
 #22

You've lost me here completely. Are you honestly not seeing the progress in western world and globally (with few small exemptions) in terms of quality and comfort of life in the past few decades? No more illiteracy, virtually everyone with access to electricity/water/internet/sewer systems, even homeless junkies have smartphones, and the best one: lack of food is no longer a major problem for the poor - excess consumption and obesity is.

Seriously? No improvement?

You see them flying.

I'm referring to everything happening China and then mainly the lower class, that's what this thread is about, not the western world. Neither am I referring to external elements such as quality and comfort of life.

This is the best time to lift these people out of their economical exclusion, and as I said before, it's beneficial for the economy as a whole, so what's holding the government back to step in? Turn the unbanked into the banked and in a matter of years you'll see how significant the economical boost is. If the government isn't doing it, these people will remain unbanked for plenty of more years. That even reeks of intentional suppression.

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September 13, 2018, 11:32:04 PM
 #23

Going cashless is still on its early stage. Right now, China, I think, is the only country who is actively promoting it although there are already countries who are now rapidly transitioning to it. It may still have flaws and issues right now and I am guessing when currency was first introduced centuries ago, there were also issues too. Same with checks and the like. Only time will really tell if going cashless will be really successful in a global level.
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September 13, 2018, 11:49:16 PM
Last edit: September 15, 2018, 05:43:25 AM by r32godzilla
 #24

Yes its not easy to turn such a big populous country in to cashless society and India too is struggling to do such thing.Its very difficult to change people's mindset immediately to leave traditional currencies and switch to digital cashless transactions and there are still huge volume of illiterate people and also older aged people who feel comfortable in staying with traditional fiat currencies.

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September 14, 2018, 02:51:43 AM
 #25

In my opinion, in the society there should be a certain balance of cash, non-cash settlements and circulation of the crypto currency. Of course, they will not exist in an equal percentage, each kind of money must take its place in society and all of them must walk in parallel with each other. Life exists in very diverse manifestations and every manifestation of it requires its own approach and its own, individual solution. No type of money in the end will not completely replace other types of money. A certain type of money can prevail, but not their other kinds.

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September 14, 2018, 04:24:04 AM
 #26



https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/11/china-cant-afford-a-cashless-society/

....

This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

Paper money shortage? The article was telling a story on how a growing % of people dont want paper money anymore because they would like to use electronic payments more. This is making a sector in China's society worry because the older generation and the low income sector do not have access to online and electronic payments. Its making them hard to transact with the use if cash. Theres no paper money shortage.
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September 14, 2018, 05:07:25 AM
 #27

I think that the lack of paper money, this is a contrived problem. For each state it is not a big problem to include a printing press and additionally print a certain amount of paper money.
As for the transition to non-cash forms of settlements, our society is not yet ready to fully transfer to them. This is a long process, however, in my opinion, our society will never become non-cash. In any case, this will not happen in the near future. Cash is indispensable in many life situations.

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September 14, 2018, 06:25:18 AM
 #28

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.

So good and i add comment. China is a socialist country, so there will always be rich and poor in this society. There is clearly visible difference between the classes. In a non-cash society, generally speaking, all 100% of the money will belong to the state (Bank), because they will temporarily issue a cash issue on request from a credit or debit card.
As for the Cryptocurrency, then the money does not belong to the state or the Bank, money from other people.
Example, in Germany almost (approximately) 80% of all money transactions are made by non-cash method. What not I'd say for other countries.

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September 14, 2018, 06:29:30 AM
 #29


change doesn't really happen faster than you can imagine but it has to start somewhere maybe in just a small city where they can start being cashless. i think there was already a cashless city, i remember there were news about a city in sweden. i'm just not sure which one. it really has to start somewhere until the mass adoption happen.

          
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September 14, 2018, 06:41:43 AM
 #30

I think a global epidemic has been the increase use of alternatives to cash. Merchants is starting to see the advantages of not having to deal with "dirty" paper money and having the higher risk of robberies when you have to collect a large amount of cash.

It is just more convenient and hygienic and safe to use alternative digital currencies and digital payment networks over cash. The informal sector will not have a problem with cash, because they collect much less than the larger retailers. Counterfeit fiat currencies also adds more cost to their business to detect that and also to prevent that.  Roll Eyes

We are quickly moving towards a cashless society.  Wink

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September 14, 2018, 07:09:15 AM
 #31

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.

Even we grow more in terms of technology, I can’t still imagine this world without cash because its really convenient to have cash on your wallet. Governmern will not support this cashless society, cryptocurrency is just here to make faster transactions around the world and we should be happy for this kind of technology.
I think the problem is not cryptocurrency. The government can also make their currency become a digital currency and this is quite easy to do, and until now every community often uses a digital transaction system through their credit cards. And I see the benefits of the government when focusing the payment system into digital, one of which is that each transaction can be easily tracked by the government, in contrast to paper money, every person can make transactions in secret. The second advantage is that the government can easily monitor the circulation of money in the country.

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September 14, 2018, 08:38:20 PM
 #32


I'm referring to everything happening China and then mainly the lower class, that's what this thread is about, not the western world.
...

Well, my bad I guess, but it's not obvious at all, especially when you clarified your point referring to governments (plural) - I took it as you switching to the general principles.
Not that it makes any difference. China is one of the best examples of quick transition from dirt poor country to relatively modern one. Saying that quote: "lower class in economical terms hasn't gone through any sort of improvement throughout the last decades" is simply wrong. Was the % of unbanked people few decades ago the same as it is today? If not, doesn't that show that huge number of lower class people actually experienced massive improvement (with big portion of them moving up from lower class)? Who do you think is responsible for that near 70% mobile transactions? Only rich and middle class?

Neither am I referring to external elements such as quality and comfort of life.

External how? Your comfort of life is not like the weather that just happens, it is very much dictated by the political conditions you live in (compare China Vs. North Korea for example).

This is the best time to lift these people out of their economical exclusion, and as I said before, it's beneficial for the economy as a whole, so what's holding the government back to step in? Turn the unbanked into the banked and in a matter of years you'll see how significant the economical boost is. If the government isn't doing it, these people will remain unbanked for plenty of more years. That even reeks of intentional suppression.

If those ~200 millions of unbanked Chinese are result of banks refusing them as customers - then yes, government should step in. If they're unbanked because they choose to be this way - then let them be, their children/grandchildren will progressively become more open to the new tech and problem will resolve itself.

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September 14, 2018, 09:40:21 PM
 #33

This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

the problem here is there is a paradigm shift in the consumer economy, and that shift includes new barriers to entry. traditional cash-based economies don't shut out the unbanked poor---even homeless beggars on the streets can bring their change into a shop and pay for their dinner. that fundamentally changes when cashless payment systems like Alipay require formal enrollment with banks. 200 million+ unbanked is a lot of people. then you have to consider the technology barrier for older generations. i know my grandparents have always carried around cash---everything they do is cash. i wonder how they would fare in this situation, where businesses are actually refusing cash payments. the elderly aren't like kids; they won't pick up new technologies that easily.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

i'm guessing they're too small to be relevant here. this seems like an issue primarily affecting the poor unbanked and the elderly---two groups i think aren't a big part of the bitcoin investor demographic.

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September 14, 2018, 09:59:10 PM
 #34

I don't think China's decision on it's approach to digital currency would be deterministic for the rest of the world.
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September 14, 2018, 11:11:10 PM
 #35

I am sure that it is impossible to realize a cashless society because the world is not ready for that. Your look is focused on the crypto technologies and I suppose that you want a cashless society to be true but nothing is ready for that. I mean that it need to change the world financial system, the world economy, economy of all countries, people's mind and so on. It is impossible to do even in the far future and moreover there are no such intentions among the elites who govern the world. So I am sure that it is too early to speak about the world wide cashless socity.
I think that the most important troubles are to eliminate fraud from the crypto market that people will be able to trust the crypto market and to use crypto technologies more widely.

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September 14, 2018, 11:22:46 PM
 #36

Yes its not easy to turn such a big populous country in to cashless society and India too is struggling to do such thing.
Every country will not become a cashless society, we used to live with it and cash is supported by the government. We should also consider those people who don’t know cryptocurrency or those who don’t want to use this technology. This is too good to be true, even in the next 15years.

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September 15, 2018, 04:00:31 AM
 #37

I think a global epidemic has been the increase use of alternatives to cash. Merchants is starting to see the advantages of not having to deal with "dirty" paper money and having the higher risk of robberies when you have to collect a large amount of cash.

It is just more convenient and hygienic and safe to use alternative digital currencies and digital payment networks over cash. The informal sector will not have a problem with cash, because they collect much less than the larger retailers. Counterfeit fiat currencies also adds more cost to their business to detect that and also to prevent that.  Roll Eyes

We are quickly moving towards a cashless society.  Wink

Its isnt new. The world has been already moving towards a cashless society since Diner's Club introduced the first credit card in 1950. Credit card transactions might also already be composed of more than 40% of all the world's transactions, but I would like to see a citation if someone else can post it lol.
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September 15, 2018, 06:57:58 AM
 #38



So the state could do it, but they won't probably for 2 reasons:

- some elderly people have no experience of non-cash technology and it could be to hard for them to switch
- "safety valve", cash is needed for crime (drugs, hookers and alike) and having total control and transparency of people's finance could backfire badly. It's actually healthy to keep some level of non-serious crime and allow people to vent-out.
Perhaps, the crimes nor money laundering can be lessen if we all in using banks in every transactions that we had. Since banks requires a lot of verification before you create a new account, people with evil plan will think twice to continue what their plan. Though, there's black market that obviously continuing ruin the system.

More likely no one can do that even a more develop country as goingng cashless is not easy as what we think since we should be considering a lot of aspects and surely government will be having hard time to convince everyone to cooperate especially those in remote areas. In an instance, we're like 30% cashless by using cards and online payment.
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September 15, 2018, 07:00:56 AM
 #39

I think there's a misconception present where people assume a cashless society is a natural and inevitable progression. Eliminating paper money in favor of cashless electronic transactions further centralizes currencies leaving consumers, businesses and individuals with fewer options. This reduction in options is correlated with reduced financial efficiency and reduced effectiveness in terms of spending. Over the long term this results in decreased GDP, reduced economic growth and other negative trends.

Some in the financial world push for a cashless society as it would centralize currency transactions in their favor. Eliminating competition between electronic transactions and paper transactions would create something further resembling a monopoly which would make it easier to exploit and take advantage of consumers. I think its safe to say a cashless society would only benefit less than 1% of the population. Everyone else would suffer as a result of cashlessness.

And so there's no reason to support it.

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September 15, 2018, 07:24:09 AM
 #40

I think a global epidemic has been the increase use of alternatives to cash. Merchants is starting to see the advantages of not having to deal with "dirty" paper money and having the higher risk of robberies when you have to collect a large amount of cash.

It is just more convenient and hygienic and safe to use alternative digital currencies and digital payment networks over cash. The informal sector will not have a problem with cash, because they collect much less than the larger retailers. Counterfeit fiat currencies also adds more cost to their business to detect that and also to prevent that.  Roll Eyes

We are quickly moving towards a cashless society.  Wink

Its isnt new. The world has been already moving towards a cashless society since Diner's Club introduced the first credit card in 1950. Credit card transactions might also already be composed of more than 40% of all the world's transactions, but I would like to see a citation if someone else can post it lol.

This is basically what I had said, because most people like the convenience of some kind of card to make their payment. Gone are the days when you had a wallet that you cannot close, due to all the small change and also the "dirty" stripper notes.  Roll Eyes

When there was a Ebola outbreak, people died because it was rumored that people were infected by the cash that they stole from the dead bodies or from their houses. They simply could not burn good money.  Roll Eyes

Add to that the countless in-store cards that are being issued and you have a perfect environment where cash is not being used anymore.

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September 15, 2018, 09:32:02 AM
Last edit: September 15, 2018, 10:47:08 AM by stompix
 #41

I think its safe to say a cashless society would only benefit less than 1% of the population. Everyone else would suffer as a result of cashlessness.

And so there's no reason to support it.

So, everybody is suffering in Sweden? Are they seeing a diminishing GDP, less spending?
Not from what I'm reading.

And furthermore, there was no government involvement in this trend, and the ones you claim are the responsible for this are actually against it:

People in Sweden barely use cash — and that’s sounding alarm bells for the country's central bank

Really, lately, you've gone back to your old habit of seeing conspiracies everywhere!!

I think a global epidemic has been the increase use of alternatives to cash. Merchants is starting to see the advantages of not having to deal with "dirty" paper money and having the higher risk of robberies when you have to collect a large amount of cash.


I think not only merchants but the cashiers are also happy...
You just tell the client what to pay and wait for him to use his cards, no more counting notes, no more double checking what he gave you, no more arguing "I gave you a 20!" , and you're safe from paying a simple mistake out of your own pocket at the end of the day.

Personally, If I would have to count bills 8 hours day I would go nuts after a week...

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September 15, 2018, 12:01:18 PM
 #42

Yeah, Sweden has also been running into such problems, as stompix mentioned. I don't even think it's the government's fault. I mean, the infrastructure is there, which is why they've been having problems in the first place. It's just that not everyone is ready for it yet.

What's interesting is that Bitcoin is always being touted as a way to increase financial inclusion, when technology itself can mean a higher barrier of entry, as these situations have shown. I do think that's going to change in the near future with people getting more used to technology, but the poor will need to be able to afford these tools themselves all the same. It's going to be interesting watching these cashless societies go, because their situation might mirror Bitcoin's future.

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September 16, 2018, 08:08:27 AM
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 #43

So, everybody is suffering in Sweden? Are they seeing a diminishing GDP, less spending?
Not from what I'm reading.

And furthermore, there was no government involvement in this trend, and the ones you claim are the responsible for this are actually against it:

People in Sweden barely use cash — and that’s sounding alarm bells for the country's central bank

Really, lately, you've gone back to your old habit of seeing conspiracies everywhere!!

The link you posted explicitly states "85% of sweden's population has access to electronic banking".

This means: 15% of sweden's unbanked demographic will suffer if a cashless society is implemented.

I would be curious to know, what part of this is a "conspiracy".   Smiley

Imagine there is an island city with two bridges. One bridge can be utilized by anyone as the cash/paper money bridge. The other bridge requires a bank account or access to electronic transactions to use. The owners of the electronic transaction bridge want to shut down the cash/paper money bridge so everyone is forced to use the bridge they themselves own & have control over. This would grant them a monopoly or centralized market which they could then leverage for their own gain. It is a good move for the owners of the single bridge, for everyone else is it likely a bad arrangement.

When in human history has a monopoly or single option ever been preferable to having multiple options? From this precedent alone it might be derived that having less options translates to increased suffering due to the higher potential for abuse and exploitation. That appears the rational and natural precedent which can be projected from known circumstances. Feel free to share your own conclusions.

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September 16, 2018, 09:37:16 AM
 #44

Cashless society soon or later will happen. Information technology including internet user growing very fast and peoples can use internet making transaction more faster and easier. I am believe in next 5 years, people will not using paper money for their transaction anymore except in place without internet connection


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September 16, 2018, 10:24:17 AM
 #45

...
The link you posted explicitly states "85% of sweden's population has access to electronic banking".
This means: 15% of sweden's unbanked demographic will suffer if a cashless society is implemented.

Nice fake quote. There's no "electronic banking" mentioned anywhere in the article. There's "online banking" though. The difference is you don't need to be registered for online banking to use credit/debit card or use payment apps, making your conclusion that 15% must be un-banked baseless.

That's not to mention we don't know who's included in that 15% of un-online-banked. This number could include young people who are yet to open their first account, or newly arrived 30-something-year-old "Syrian refugee" children from Afghanistan.


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September 17, 2018, 11:21:59 AM
 #46

Quote
This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

I wouldn't say that they can't "afford" a cashless society, considering that one is already pretty much in full swwing at the moment.

But there are obvious flaws to such cashless society where the cashlessness is brought through technology developed by private companies, whose technology may not suit everyone. Also, it's not really that there is a cash shortage, it's that people may get left behind when cash is no longer an option for them, and restricts them from transacting online as well.

Apart from that, obviously in the long term, cashless society discussions will definitely encompass bitcoin as one of the main viable options as well. But right now, adoption rates are still low, especially in China which has quite varied demographics.

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September 17, 2018, 04:26:51 PM
 #47

Paper money shortage? The article was telling a story on how a growing % of people dont want paper money anymore because they would like to use electronic payments more. This is making a sector in China's society worry because the older generation and the low income sector do not have access to online and electronic payments. Its making them hard to transact with the use if cash. Theres no paper money shortage.
Unfortunately, the older generation does not understand they are living a borrowed time. That is even by the way. Normally, we do not always expect a change to just occur rapidly without having some setbacks most especially from the government. If they feel that the big merchants are the cause of the shortage of paper money, then so be it.

The world is advancing in technology by the day, what is the advantage of the paper money anyway, at least, money is money as long as you can use it to pay for a value in whichever form it is, and I wonder why the Chinese government will want to be creating a huge fuss about it.
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September 18, 2018, 10:16:40 AM
 #48

No countrie in the world (even China and USA) can't afford a 100% cashless society,because the implementation would be very expensive.Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.Paper money are still way more convenient.

The cost of implementation will of course be expensive not only in US but in the rest of the countries as well. Almost all the people would need to have access to the technology and to the internet to make things happen.

The shift has already been seen in countries like Venezuela where the printing the money was more costly and would rather lower the value of money so this system was introduced. The cryptocurrency system can very well be established but it will take a huge time.
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September 20, 2018, 07:48:18 AM
 #49

Yes its not easy to turn such a big populous country in to cashless society and India too is struggling to do such thing.Its very difficult to change people's mindset immediately to leave traditional currencies and switch to digital cashless transactions and there are still huge volume of illiterate people and also older aged people who feel comfortable in staying with traditional fiat currencies.
This is something that will happen as the world advances. We have so many problems in India. The infrastructure is not up to the standard, natural catastrophes have an adverse effect on the masses which was seen in the recent Kerala flood. Having these problems at head, how can you think about making your society cashless when majority of the people do not have access to electricity let alone crytpocurrency.
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September 20, 2018, 01:37:09 PM
 #50

The link you posted explicitly states "85% of sweden's population has access to electronic banking".

This means: 15% of sweden's unbanked demographic will suffer if a cashless society is implemented.

I would be curious to know, what part of this is a "conspiracy".   Smiley

As pawel7777 has said before....really? It states exactly that explicitly?


About the conspiracies....

I think its safe to say a cashless society would only benefit less than 1% of the population. Everyone else would suffer as a result of cashlessness.

The 1% elitists that brush their teeth with caviar while the rest of the population works in slavery..bla bla bla..


Imagine there is an island city with two bridges. One bridge can be utilized by anyone as the cash/paper money bridge. The other bridge requires a bank account or access to electronic transactions to use. The owners of the electronic transaction bridge want to shut down the cash/paper money bridge so everyone is forced to use the bridge they themselves own & have control over. This would grant them a monopoly or centralized market which they could then leverage for their own gain. It is a good move for the owners of the single bridge, for everyone else is it likely a bad arrangement.

When in human history has a monopoly or single option ever been preferable to having multiple options? From this precedent alone it might be derived that having less options translates to increased suffering due to the higher potential for abuse and exploitation. That appears the rational and natural precedent which can be projected from known circumstances. Feel free to share your own conclusions.

Not for everyone else. I couldn't give an f-word about the cash bridge. I don't like to use cash, I don't want to use cash and when there is a guy counting bills and coins ahead of me at the store and taking forever I sometimes feel the urge to hit him with the POS.

As for the alternatives.... if cryptos would eliminate fiat...would that be a monopoly?  Grin

But, back to the questions, I've asked you and you elegantly decided to bypass:

So, everybody is suffering in Sweden? Are they seeing a diminishing GDP, less spending?

Has any of that come true in the last decade since Sweden has taken this cashless path?

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September 20, 2018, 03:36:58 PM
 #51

...
I don't like to use cash, I don't want to use cash and when there is a guy counting bills and coins ahead of me at the store and taking forever I sometimes feel the urge to hit him with the POS.
...

In my country they actually did a survey where they asked the persons, who operate
the cashier in a major supermarket chain which payment method is faster (paying cash
or paying with a debit / credit card). The overwhelming majority expressed the opinion that paying cash is
much faster than card payments. Keep in mind that these are the persons that make hundreds of
transactions a day and probably can make an educated guess about this topic.

Maybe you have just been unlucky or selectively remember the few times where someone actually
took forever to count a few coins.

...
Cashless society means that everyone needs a mobile device or a personal computer.
...

In most developed countries this is already nearly the case and the few remaining people will
switch eventually or will simply die (many of the people, who don´t own either device are probably
the really old persons).
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September 20, 2018, 06:20:46 PM
Last edit: September 21, 2018, 01:04:37 PM by stompix
 #52

~

In my country they actually did a survey where they asked the persons, who operate
the cashier in a major supermarket chain which payment method is faster (paying cash
or paying with a debit / credit card). The overwhelming majority expressed the opinion that paying cash is
much faster than card payments. Keep in mind that these are the persons that make hundreds of
transactions a day and probably can make an educated guess about this topic.

Maybe you have just been unlucky or selectively remember the few times where someone actually
took forever to count a few coins.

I really wanna see that survey and how it was taken since;
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-rampton/how-mobile-payments-will-_b_9386860.html

Quote
More importantly, as already mentioned, these type of mobile payments are more secure than traditional payment methods and EMV. They’re also faster when checking out. The Smart Card Alliance says that “Chase has reported that customer time at the POS is reduced 30-40%, and American Express has reported that contactless transactions are 63% faster than cash and 53% faster than using a traditional credit card.” MasterCard found that “12-18 seconds were shaved off the purchase time as compared to cash” in drive-throughs.

You might be able to beat a card payment with PIN if you have exactly the right amount of money already prepared and there is no change involved but nothing, absolutely nothing can be faster than a contactless payment.

Tomorrow morning when I'll drop by the store to pick up whatever I'll need I'll start the chronometer on my smartwatch the moment the clerk is done with the scanning. and stop it once the receipt is out. I'm curious about this myself  Smiley

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September 20, 2018, 06:37:28 PM
 #53

Not only China, other country too can't afford a cashless society. Cashless society is just imaginary, practically its not possible. There are many countries which are having very less literacy rate, although the literate countries too have some portion of illiterate people. So there illiterate people will face many difficulties in operating smartphones or PC's. So imagining a cashless society is a wacky thing.

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September 20, 2018, 07:47:36 PM
 #54

Quote
This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?

What I see is that in China, in most cities at least, mobile phone adoption is so high anyways that going cashless doesn't necessarily affect many people since everyone already has the technology to do it anyways.

There are concerns, for example, people who live in absolute remote areas with no internet connection could be left behind on this. Also, potentially people who don't have valid identification cards may also be affected.

China's probably going to continue going cashless at this stage, it's interesting that their approach is to have two competing cashless wallets though. Also, there is no paper money shortage as far as I know of. All there is is that people are increasingly less willing to deal with the hassle of change and pieces of paper.
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September 20, 2018, 08:15:42 PM
 #55

What I see is that in China, in most cities at least, mobile phone adoption is so high anyways that going cashless doesn't necessarily affect many people since everyone already has the technology to do it anyways.

There are concerns, for example, people who live in absolute remote areas with no internet connection could be left behind on this. Also, potentially people who don't have valid identification cards may also be affected.

hundreds of millions of people in china don't have access to formal banking. paying for something through alipay requires a bank account. opening a bank account in china requires a valid passport and usually also an employment pass, student pass or work permit---that will never happen for a substantial part of the population. then there's bank account maintenance fees.

and then what do they get in return, besides losing all privacy in their transactions? the privilege of saving 12-18 seconds at the counter? great!! Roll Eyes

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September 21, 2018, 12:53:28 PM
 #56

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A mania for mobile payments is leaving the poor behind.

As payment by phone accelerates in China, the reach of the biggest digital corporations are making its banking regulators uneasy. In Chinese cities, paying via the ubiquitous WeChat platform is now so common that vendors often have trouble making change for cash, or sometimes refuse to take it altogether. That’s prompted pushback from the state-owned banks. Anhui province’s branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), recently began a working group to tackle the problem. Wang Yazhou, a senior banking official in Hefei, the province’s capital, commented a thorough cleanup was needed because refusing cash payments would be likely to have a very negative impact.

Regulators like Wang are right to be concerned. The growing “cashlessness” of Chinese cities threatens to expose underlying issues of economic instability. Mobile payments are carving out lines between young and old, and between the prosperous urban middle class and those left behind by the boom times. Mismanaged moves to mobile payments by municipalities could also lock the elderly and the poor out of the consumption economy—just when the Chinese government needs as many spenders as possible to drive forward the country’s economic transformation.

The policy question being debated is whether mobile payments can legally substitute for the renminbi, China’s currency. Specifically, regulators are looking to see if “cashless city” initiatives and the like violate China’s Renminbi Management Regulations. This law contains a clause that distinctly defines the renminbi as “the legal currency of the People’s Republic of China” and says that “within China’s national borders, the usage of renminbi for transactions by work units or individuals cannot be revoked.”

At the same time, the numbers suggest that cashlessness is rising and here to stay. January 2017 data reported by the Cyberspace Administration of China showed that 469 million users were registered on a mobile payment platform, and found an increase of 31.2 percent in total registered users compared to 2016 numbers. The China Internet Network Administration Center, another government bureau that collects usage data, indicated that the proportion of mobile payment usage in transactions rose from 57.7 percent to 67.5 percent from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017. In the cities, vendors ranging from brand-name stores to street food stalls have slapped colorful QR Code stickers from Alipay and Tencent—China’s two giant internet firms, which dominate online payments—near cash registers.

Bolstered by these promising numbers, the mega-corporations that run the cashless transactions applications are ramping up promotional events and municipal lobbying initiatives. In the early 2010s, online vendors pioneered “shopping holidays,” events such as Singles’ Day (Nov. 11—four lonely ones in a row) when purchases peaked thanks to deep discounts. The new events build on those, further normalizing cashless payments. In August 2017, Alibaba, Alipay’s parent company, rolled out “Cashless City Week” events in its home city of Hangzhou, as well as in Wuhan, Fuzhou, and Tianjin. Tencent’s WeChat Pay followed suit with a similar promotion that played off the auspicious date of Aug. 8, naming it an annual “Cashless Day.” However, bowing to pressure from Wuhan’s PBOC branch, wording for these promotions were later changed to “better respect consumer choice” in payment platform availability.

In many cities, cashlessness is so common that panhandlers and street musicians use WeChat and Alipay QR codes to ask for change. But these anecdotal cases obscure some of the class-related issues that cashlessness can’t fix, and may worsen. The 2017 World Bank Global Findex database, which measures financial inclusion, estimated that some 200 million Chinese rural citizens remain unbanked, or outside of the formal financial system. Cashless payment systems by design require formal enrollment in banks, which are then tied to the mobile payment platforms that WeChat and Alibaba host.

When apps are built on the assumption that residents of a specific community are formally enrolled in a bank or financial institution, the unenrolled are simply locked out of being able to pay. As a 2017 report from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor indicates, close to 70 percent of rural Chinese remain offline and require a compelling reason to acquire the smartphone and bank account needed to utilize mobile payments. As these digital platforms attempt to become the default form of payment, China is facing a critical challenge to get its unbanked citizens caught up to financial inclusion standards.

The question of how accessible cashless payments truly are within China is an active, vibrant debate within domestic policy circles. A 2017 op-ed series in the Beijing News raised concerns that shifting invoicing systems to cashless ones without consulting rural communities or individuals would introduce risks: In communities that are cash-only, if individuals find themselves shut out of the financial system, they will be unable to conduct economic transactions related to agricultural equipment, seeds, and other purchases for farming.

Even as regulators and finance analysts worry about these gaps, Alibaba and Tencent remain determined to push cashlessness further into everyday life. Chinese firms are borrowing from the tactics and lingo of Silicon Valley CEOs determined to sell their products as socially valuable. In rural areas, both companies are investing resources and relying on their platforms’ unique characteristics to try to capture potential market shares of rural users of mobile banking products. Alibaba, which grew its revenues via the Taobao shopping site and supply chains, is in the tail end of a 2014 to 2019 10 billion renminbi spending spree to build e-commerce service centers in rural China. Tencent, on the other hand, relies on WeChat’s role connecting migrant workers to family members in rural areas to get more mobile payment users onboard.

Older users are another critical demographic targeted in cashless platform promotion campaigns. Because older users tend to struggle learning to use mobile devices, for example, Alibaba takes advantage of filial piety to encourage children to recruit parents and elders into getting on the apps. In a recent campaign to get more elderly users up to speed on using Alipay, Alibaba mimicked the language of a heartfelt child-to-parent note as an introduction to a tutorial on setting up mobile payments.

Alibaba and Tencent can issue lofty mission statements about bringing more users into the fold. But to them, the size of coverage disparities aren’t an overall problem as long as urban users keep the money flowing through their respective apps. They lose nothing substantial when lower-income, lower-technology, or unbanked users struggle to participate, because mobile transactions are still a massively growing sector. However, PBOC branches do, because lower spending and renminbi circulation reflects poorly on different provinces’ economic numbers—and, eventually, on the economic health of the whole country. When corporate needs and government objectives clash in China, however, the government tends to win. Yet the attraction of investment and the glamor of tech may give the payment firms the leverage they need to keep reaching for revenue opportunities.

How Chinese individuals, businesses, and communities can adapt to the prevalence of ubiquitous cashlessness will determine survival in a burgeoning but unequal digital economy. If China goes cashless without widening the opportunities to participate, the end result may exacerbate economic inequality in China even further—and leave rural provinces frustrated even as the country’s biggest corporations thrive.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/11/china-cant-afford-a-cashless-society/

....

This piece attempts to blame cash and paper money shortages in china on 3rd party payment apps like Wechat, Alipay and Tencent.

When people hear the term "paper money shortage" what comes to mind? Is this something that is likely to be the fault of private sector enterprise: corporations which build and implement electronic payment networks? Or is it more likely to be the fault of governments who produce and distribute paper money? I would be interested to know peoples feelings on this topic.

Would also be curious to know if anyone that reads this piece feels as if there is "anti-capitalist" sentiment present. Perhaps similar to the anti-capitalist sentiment pushed by venezuela which led to the severe deterioration of its private sector. Followed by loss of jobs, heavily reduced production via corporations in the country, etcetera.

No mention of bitcoin or crypto currencies, here. Should they also be considered in "cashless society" discussions? What are peoples thoughts on this?
Not like I am I am surprised they will want to have to push it on the private sectors. As far as I am concerned, there is a huge anti-capitalist sentiment in everything said by the Chinese government. Well, not so surprised that would come from a democratic dictatorship setting.

I am sure in some way this is the main reason they would not really want to be having much to do with cryptocurrency in the long run, as that simply shows how threatened they are to it.
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October 12, 2018, 02:49:11 PM
 #57

Yes, I think this applies to most of the countries, if not all, especially the developing ones. Most of the countries are yet also experiencing wide gap between rural and urban lifestyle. Huge amount of population is unaware of smart and internet connection. I think cashless society can be a reality only on paper, in real world I don’t think it can be implemented at least for the next two decades. Moreover problems like poverty and illiteracy can't really be solved using Bitcoin or other innovative cryptocurrencies.
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November 05, 2018, 07:16:21 AM
 #58

I'd have to agree, i mean there would be alot of infrastructures to build to make a nationwide crypto currency happen. For one thing, internet access must haopen all over the land. I mean they use Fiat as a transition or even place a lesser tax on people who want to use crypto currency. There are lots of ways to do it if they have political will.

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November 05, 2018, 10:51:30 AM
 #59

most of the city dwellers are accustom to cashless payment. Cash mainly use by foreigner, old people, back water community or black market and illegal business. if you living a honest life in China, cashless payment binded to bank is the way to go.
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November 06, 2018, 07:22:59 AM
 #60

I have read a lot of comments. I think everyone is too limited. Many people don't see the future. To know that China's cashless society has formed, they have surpassed the world for decades! Cashless cryptocurrencies can also be implemented globally. However, a cashless society does not mean rejecting the circulation of banknotes, but can spread in both directions. Hey, look at your comments and think that you are ignorant. I have been to China, I suggest to study.

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November 06, 2018, 09:19:09 AM
 #61

Cashless society soon or later will happen. Information technology including internet user growing very fast and peoples can use internet making transaction more faster and easier. I am believe in next 5 years, people will not using paper money for their transaction anymore except in place without internet connection
I think it's too fast to implement a cashless society in a country that has a very large total population with a very large number of poor people too, China is a big industrial country but they also have many poor people, in 5 years it won't make a big difference , it took few decades to change from cash to digital..
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November 06, 2018, 09:32:18 AM
 #62

In fact, China's mobile payment is now very developed, and the preferred payment method for Chinese people is mobile payment!
You think that China does not have a cashless society. It may be that China's mobile payment is not paid in cryptocurrency!

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November 06, 2018, 10:24:21 AM
 #63

I think it's more caused by people switching to digital payment methods out of convenience and increasing practicality and user-friendliness of these methods that banks just can't keep up with.

Not surprised about the anti-capitalist sentiment. In today's day and age of global interconnectedness, private enterprises can achieve more power than centralized structures due to the sheer reach of potential consumers. (Just look at at Amazon). Governments don't like this. Trump hates Bezos.
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November 10, 2018, 06:58:30 AM
 #64

You should learn Chinese culture. You don't know China. You must know why the United States is so afraid of China. This shows that the rise of China is affirmative. They have succeeded in a cashless society. But they did not use cryptocurrency.

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