5 Ways Technology Has Completely Changed How We Handle Cash

cash in hand
For so long pop culture has had so many references to money and its role in society. You've probably heard those catchy phrases like "cash is king", or "cash rules everything around me" or references to raining down dollar bills. Yet in reality, cash-on-hand is becoming a thing of the past because, with mobile technology and a whole new world of payments, consumers don't need to carry it as much. Now cash isn't being done away completely yet, but there are fewer reasons nowadays for consumers to have to visit an ATM and make a cash withdrawal.

1. More Consumers Are Shopping at E-commerce Stores Than Ever Before 

Online shopping continues to grow throughout the world, and since online shopping has to be done with credit and debit cards or through other electronic payment methods, cash is non-existent here. Consumers prefer shopping this way since they can do it right from home and can usually find the exact products at cheaper prices than in stores. There could still be a future for brick and mortar outlets in conjunction with online platforms that complement the shopping experience, but it's certainly clear that electronic payments will more than likely remain the main payment methods in this making the use of cash less important.

2. Credit Card Readers Are Cheaper and Easier Than Ever to Get

It used to be that most startup businesses and small mom and pop shops would only take cash payments at their establishments. Credit card payment processors and high-end point-of-sale systems used to be very expensive to get, but that's not the case nowadays. There are services out there that offer credit card readers that are very cheap and small that you could plug them right into a smartphone and use them immediately. With this current trend, even very small businesses with little cash flow and not much by way of a tech setup can accept credit or debit card payments and allow their customers to forego using cash. This is especially handy for small businesses that want less hassle from having to drive to the bank and make deposits.

3. Personal Loans Are Being Funded Without Needing Cash or Check Deposits

Online loans that don't require visiting a bank or receiving cash or a check from a lender have also become more common today. For example, with online installment loans from direct lenders, the loans are funded through electronic transfers right into the borrower's checking account without the need to involve cash. Likewise, the loans can be repaid through automatic withdrawals that are also made electronically. The only time cash may be involved is if the borrower has to make a cash withdrawal from their checking account to pay for an emergency.

4. Money Transfer Services Have Started Replacing Cash Gifts and Money Orders

It's always been considered unwise to send cash in the mail with all the high risks that doing so entails. It's been more common over the years to either send a check or buy a money order with cash to send money as a gift in the mail. But now there are so many money transfer apps out there that you can send someone money electronically quite easily either by entering your credit or debit card information in the app or doing a bank account transfer. But many of these transfer services will allow you to set them up as cash pickup transfer if the person you're sending them to doesn't have a bank account and needs to receive cash. Some money transfer services even have bill pay options on them allowing you to pay your creditors electronically.

5. More Electronic Alternatives to Banking Have Emerged

Plastic cards and electronic payment services have sometimes been thought to be limited to those with regular bank accounts while the unbanked population is limited to cash, but that's not quite the case. Prepaid debit cards are an option for most people, and most even allow paychecks to be direct deposited, and they also have other similar services to mobile banking. But there's also a cryptocurrency, and while it's not yet a universally accepted currency, it does have a few features that have experts considering it as a future electronic cash alternative. And practically anyone in the world with a crypto wallet either electronic or printed out on paper can use it.

The bottom line is the digital world has made the need for cash much less in recent years, and it's only likely to continue that way. However, having cash set aside sometimes for needed payments is still important as there are a few instances where it may be your only payment option.

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