There was an article in the Washington Post on Monday August 7, 2017 that should make most businesses to take pause. The article written by Mala Silber headlined “Spare Cash? Who has cash?” was written about a panhandler’s inability to collect as much in cash donations today verses just a couple of years ago. The reason being, that fewer people actually carry cash.
The article confirmed what has been known for years: we are moving ever so closer to being a cashless economy! Open your wallet and see how much cash you have in it. It would be a good bet that there is $20 or less in it (especially true if you are 30 years old or younger. ) People 50 years old and up who used to carry at least $50 in cash on their person are also moving towards plastic faster than ever.
While millennials may not carry or own a credit card, they do own debit cards. They also are apt to use Applepay™ or Androidpay Apps to pay for goods and services. These Apps allow the users debit/credit card be stored in an encrypted form on the user’s smart phones. Most European businesses already are more likely to have machines that can accept these types of payments. US businesses are not that far behind.
It has becomes easier to pay with plastic anywhere and even at restaurants where you can split a bill or tips easily between 2 or more cards. Even paying utility bills does not require cash or checks, just pay online with auto debit (or even with a credit card!) It is said that about 34% of the US population rarely even carry cash.
Per the same Washington Post article, Kenneth S Rogoff’s book “Curse of Cash”, notes that in Sweden, cash transactions only comprise of 1/5 of all transactions. In fact some of their panhandlers collect donations using a smart phone App. If panhandlers are accepting credit cards, shouldn’t all businesses?
Of course all businesses should be accepting card payments. In today’s society, you cannot remain in business unless you can accept all forms of payment. This holds true even for government contractors who must accept credit card payments to even bid on contracts.
Dwindling donations to panhandlers is the cash economy’s canary in the mine. The air is getting thin for businesses that run on cash only.