In this day and age, carrying around cash in your wallet or pocket makes little to no sense. Poor economic conditions make theft a very high possibility, and losing your wallet is an extremely cumbersome process. You will lose all your cash and, unlike with debit or credit cards, you will receive no support from your bank to get it back. The global demand for cash-free payments has exponentially grown with the Covid-19 pandemic with fears about virus transmission through cash.
The good news is that technological advances have come so far that going completely cash-free is not that far-fetched an idea as it was just a few years ago. The likelihood of a cash-free future is made even higher by the high mobile penetration rates.
Let’s look at some of the most popular online cash and digital cash methods used by those who prefer cash-free lives.
Online Payment Gateways
The very basic form of online cash payments are online payment gateways. These payment gateways are usually hosted on websites and users can make payments to registered service providers using their debit or credit cards. It’s the most common online cash payment mechanism with even government bodies in Sri Lanka using it to simplify their processes.
Online Bank Transfers
Banks were initially slow to provide user-friendly online banking platforms to their customers but have now smoothed out all the kinks. Most customers have access to online banking platforms that easily facilitate online cash payments and online cash transfers, in addition to other activities such as account balance information, fixed deposit openings etc.
Contactless Card Payments
Already very popular in Sri Lanka, more and more businesses offer contactless card payments that do not require a cashier to physically swipe your debit card or credit card through a machine. Instead, you can simply “tap” your card or bring your card close to the reader and make your payments completely cash-free. There are even contactless payment methods that work with other payment-enabled devices, such as mobile phones or smart watches.
Your mobile phone holds the future of a cash-free society inside it. There are countless mobile apps developed by banks, telecommunications companies and other service providers that act as digital wallets and facilitate holistic digital banking.
The ultimate buzzword in the world of fintech. While innovation-centric businesses like Tesla have accepted Bitcoin as a payment method, cryptocurrency is yet to become a widely-available means of payments and money transfers. Cryptocurrency is the future of digital cash and is set to change the entire finance and banking system in the not-so-distant future.
Some of the main benefits of using digital cash for transactions are as follows:
- Physical theft is impossible due to no tangible cash
- Theft in general is less likely due to passwords, encryption and other safety protocols
- Digital cash transactions are far more convenient for customers as they do not need to withdraw and deposit cash from ATMs or banks
- Online cash movement is much easier to trace, making illegal money laundering more difficult
- International transactions or purchases in foreign countries become easier with online cash
Of course, going cash-free and adopting digital cash and online cash mechanisms requires heavy infrastructure development as well as social acceptance which would need to be spearheaded by the government and service providers. Older generations in particular will be more resistant towards digital cash and online cash mechanisms, preferring to stick to the tried-and-true cash transactions. However, it’s important to not get left behind with the times. Learn more about how you can adopt digital cash and online cash mechanisms and start your cash-free journey.