Going Cashless

My children are Millennials and Generation Zers and they simply do not carry cash.  OK, maybe it’s better to say they rarely carry cash. And don’t even bring up the subject of checks.  At least they know what cash looks like and understand how it is used.  Checks are included in the same category as records (I mean the old vinyl LPs) and Atari game systems.  Quaint remembrances of the past that have no use whatsoever.  They do their banking on-line, their paychecks are transferred to their bank account via ETF, they transfer money to each other through apps, and they pay for everything with plastic: either a credit card, debit card or gift card. When grandma sends them one of those quaint checks, they use an on-line app to deposit the funds; no need for an ATM, and heaven forbid having to set foot inside a bank branch. Of course the use of physical “plastic” is even becoming a last resort with more and more of those transactions occurring through a virtual card on a phone or attached to an online account.

This lack of cash and checks is providing some unique risks and opportunities to aspects of our society that are going to have to change or die.  Here are a couple examples.

Houses of Worship – simply passing the basket won’t work anymore. If people don’t carry cash or write checks how will they put anything in a basket?  Part of the solution is automated giving online. Members may be willing to set up recurring automated transfers, but not everyone will want to set up a recurring payment or enter a lot of information (name, address and credit card information) to make a donation.  These institutions will also need a way for people to make a quick painless donation – like dropping cash in a basket.  There are already ways to do that today.  Set up your institution on those money transfer apps or go even further and set up a process for people to be able to donate via text if they are set up to do that.

Children – the days of giving your child a weekly cash allowance or paying cash for chores around the house are coming to an end.  The question is what will take its place.  Will they have bank accounts?  Will they simply have money in on-line accounts like Paypal or other yet to be invented services?  I don’t know where they will store their cash, but to access it they will need some type of “connected device.”  Today those are cell phones, tablets and PCs; but with the technology advancements coming will they simply carry around a card that “has money on it?”  I don’t know, but with Millennials starting to have kids reaching allowance age, I think there is money to be made for someone who can solve the cashless problem for allowances.

There are many more aspects that need to be thought about. Garage sales, lemonade stands and donations to the homeless are just a few.  Maybe the answer is that hard currency does have a place for such transactions and Millennials will just need to adapt, but somehow I don’t see the adapting occurring on that side the ledger.

What do you think?

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One Comment on “Going Cashless”

  1. Paula Gibbons says:

    I have been through this with my college age children. I write very few checks now. I wonder what parents do to send payment to school. For small amounts, I sent cash. For large amounts, I wrote a check.


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