This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 24, 2019

The Coming Cashless Society

When it was tax time this year, I discovered in the entire year, I had not written one check. Payment in the United States is changing; instead of writing checks, many of us now send money electronically through our banks and other payment services, like PayPal and Venmo. However, the US is not evolving as quickly as other countries, especially Sweden and China.

Sweden goes cashless in 2021
In 2023 Sweden becomes the first world's 100 percent digital, cashless society, after introducing its own digital currency in 2021. In 1661, it was the first country to adopt banknotes in Europe. Recently, more than 80 percent of all retail transactions have been conducted electronically. This retail percentage is similar in the balance of the Nordic countries that includes Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.

Disappearing cash
Cash is fast disappearing from China. Consumers have abandoned paper and coin RMB in favor of paying with their Smart devices in growing numbers. China's embrace of a cashless economy is the sign of a global trend.

Unique smart-phone payment services
For the most part, people in China---especially the younger generations---do not use cash; they use WeChat Pay (a function of the WeChat App) or Alipay (from the Ali Baba site). The older generations do use plastic but only as debit cards. Not only are young people preferring these payment methods, but they are also the top two payment options among China's high net worth individuals. And they are using these options to pay for everything from bills to booking a taxi. According to the Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2018, Alipay, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, remained as the number one preferred payment system among China's super rich for the second year in a row. In China, even beggars take these mobile services.

Bank cards are losing to mobile services
Two years ago, bank cards ranked as the most preferred payment system in a similar poll of wealthy individuals. However, since then, bankcards have fallen to become the third most popular choice, though they still rank ahead of cash.

Our cashless future
Sweden and China are showing the rest of the world how a cashless economy can be done. We believe it is only a matter of time until all of the countries of the globe embrace these savings. Clearly countries will save a lot of funds by not having to print paper money and mint coins. Blockchain software is the last piece we needed to make a cashless economy work well for humanity. It is only a matter of time until cash disappears from the planet.


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