1 - First, I like cash. It's tactile and gives me a feel for my spending.
2 - Cards are an duopoly, layered onto an oligopoly. Cashless gives this system a 2% tax on all spending (+ fraud, which retailers pay for).
3 - Government control is creepy too. Liberty reasons, privacy reasons, single-point-of failure reasons. Just simple competency reasons.
4 - It advantages big firms relative to small ones who pay lower fees for better service, and continues the trend to bigger firms. How does a cashless lemonade stand work?
Most transactions already are cashless, and all the rules around these are run by the banking-regulator-government complex. They wield tremendous control, and decide a lot about how businesses should run.
Remember paypal confiscating aid money, kickstarters and such... to be released gradually and when paypal was convinced that it should be? They basically decide which transactions should happen. This does not work on an innocent-until-guilty basis.
We've had a lot of financial regulation recently, bleeding way past the financial sectors. AML or whatnot. The lawyers love it because it's lawyerly, and demands lawyers. Governments love it because it because it makes everything auditable, in theory. Tax evasion, funding terrorism, buying grass become impossible. The big financial firms (especially CCs) love it because it entrenches their oligopolies. Big regular firm love it because they are good at bureaucracy and incumbents are not.
The bitcoin failure (I think it is) teaches something. People don't really give each other money. It's kind of illegal. Money is supposed to move between people and companies or companies and companies, not between people. There is no demand for Peter-pays-Paul.
I don't see any upside at all for, dare I say... we the people.
Also the local eBay equivalent TradeMe gained its popularity on this network. Given somebody’s bank account number I can transfer money to their account within an hour (used to be overnight until a few years ago). There’s no reversal for this so it’s safe for the seller, and since it’s a real bank there’s no way to freeze it without a court order.
The banks being banks of course are trying to ruin this, since using the big card networks gives them free revenue.
The only thing for which I use credit cards are online purchases from foreign websites that don't support iDeal.
Everything else is through regular bank transactions, either through pin card, direct transactions, or iDeal. All Dutch banks support iDeal, and I wish the rest of the world would too because it's vastly superior to credit cards.
Using my card, I get good post-purchase protection (via threat of chargeback or card issuer-provided warranty increase) and excellent fraud protection.
Everything is handled by my own bank, and if I don't trust my own bank, I can choose a better bank and use that. With credit cards, I have to use whatever payment provider the merchant uses, and either they or the merchant can hang on to my credit card number, which weirdly is sufficient to access my money. Also, there are only two credit card providers that really count; not a lot of choice there.
Chargebacks may seem attractive as a buyer, but they also mean that a seller can lose their money after they legitimately sent the goods. Merchants would have to track down individual customers to sue them to get their money back.
Still you don’t really see the vendors at small farmer’s markets with the payclip things like you do in NZ.
The finality of cash avoids having to keep, organize, and verify a lot of paper records if you don't really need the receipts.
Both in games with premium currencies like diamonds, and in real life with plastic cards and services, it's been shown time and again that the further you are from actual cash the more you spend.
This can't be emphasised enough and is, to my mind, a near complete explanation of the drive for cashless. We, as good consumers, will spend more in a cashless world.
When we were struggling to make ends meet after the dot com bust we slowly realised this, and came to draw out cash first for everything possible. If the cash wasn't there first, it did not get bought. I will still, nearing 20 years on, draw cash prior to shopping, or buying fuel etc. Debit cards get used online. The credit card lives in a drawer. Unused and balance free for years.
I don't care if it would be 10x easier and I'd get 1.5% cashback on the purchase with the credit card; I want them to have the experience and understand that they are trading away a limited resource that took time and effort to acquire, not just mindless swipe/stick/tap.
That last bit, that's a profound observation. There is some real demand, but not much. More so there is theoretical demand. In theory I want the option to pay with cash because dammit I want that last vestige of freedom from being tracked and taxed.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. -Goethe
Cash is an important palliative for the feeling that perhaps we aren't as free as we would like to believe.
MobilePay, a person-to-person payment app in Denmark, is a huge deal here. It had 3 million users in 2016 (out of 7 million people!), and its second-priority shop payment feature (that arrived much later) is challenging credit cards. It's used for everything from selling used goods to splitting bills.
Swish, the Swedish equivalent, has 4 million users.
Vipp, the Norwegian equivalent, has 2.7 million users.
Peter-pays-Paul has huge demand here. Bitcoin is just a terrible solution to that problem.
(uggedal provided the Swedish and Norwegian numbers).
Note, though, that it's not really just Peter paying Paul, as the transaction is still between their respective banks with everything that entails. And a MobilePay account is actually tied to a specific payment card. I have had a MobilePay transaction refused (and from a public institution, no less) because my account did not involve a Dankort, the only payment card the institution deemed acceptable.
Anyway, it is really Peter paying Paul. It is just centralized and in a stable currency, with all the benefits that entail, such as instant execution, ease of use and predictable outcome. It of course also has the downside: There are gate keepers, in the form of Danske Bank and other banks involved.
Bitcoin is also Peter paying Paul, but decentralized/p2p. And, frankly, this is its Achilles heel as much as it is its greatest feature.
You might be misunderstanding how MobilePay engaged with payment cards. Things have changed a bit since the start, but MobilePay originally asked for your dankort info to extract bank account information. It performed direct bank transfers, screwing Nets over for transaction fees (anything screwing over Nets is good for mankind).
However, because people demanded the support, "real" credit cards was later added (not sure if only for shopping), but they're likely letting stores eat the fees. Thus, they probably let the store pick whether they support cards that cost them fees. In general, the MobilePay used for stores is very different in function from the one used between users.
(I was in fintech with companies like Nets as client when MobilePay launched, but that is not the case anymore, so my info may be out of date.)
Freedom always was an aristocratic privilege.
What they sold to the proles - with heavy advertising, at a price up to your life - was a cheap knock-off.
4. In Sweden, and some other European countries (and China?) a lemonade stand works by person-to-person bank transfers, initiated using a mobile phone app. The Swedish one is called Swish, but I link to the Danish one  as they have an English explanation.
People really do use these apps for things like lemonade stands. I've seen an unattended garage sale, where everything was priced and a sign gave a phone number for payment.
It's also commonly used person-to-person, e.g. if a friend owes me for a spare concert ticket, part of a restaurant bill or whatever.
Yes, but not automatically. You have to manually log all your spending by category yourself.
Big data has advantages but you have to trade off your privacy in exchange for the convenience.
Built in privacy for some people is a feature. For others it’s a bug.
No, neither can it break down my spending habits for the banks, the government, and anyone else with access (authorized or not) to that data. One of the most important reasons I use cash.
The United States has this via Venmo. But Venmo doesn't replace business transactions, only personal ones.
Venmo falls well short of the transfer apps in most countries.
Is this month's data an outlier or do you really spend $1000/month on fast food?!
Also, I can recategorize any transaction, or all transactions from any merchant. I think I set the canteen at work to "fast food", as it's a food category I almost never spend in otherwise.
(The interface is the default view of my online banking, but otherwise, I don't use it. It's very swish, but fortunately I don't need to budget this way.)
My Danish isn't good enough to reliably say what it is when speaking Danish. Probably something like "Jeg mobilepayer dig halvtres¹ kroner"
The system in Britain (Paym) hasn't really caught on. They might be less keen to verb a noun.
¹ This is why I avoid discussing numbers in Danish.
But then again, I'm ancient.
Not in the European Union where this fee is capped to 0,3%.
It's supposed to handle the problem, but we all know that the companies just increase prices to compensate.
I don't know the real number for the economy as a whole, but the experience I do have (mostly in the higher risk/cost "card-not-present" scenarios) actual transaction costs are always higher than they seem at first glance.
For example, retailers bear the majority of fraud risk. Add that in, and the cost of anti-fraud.. it adds up. Then there's the consumer side, where users "pay" fees, pay interest rates..
My point is that all these digital payment (including the paper-originally CCs) tend to become bottlenecks and oligopolies. Banks, CCs, gateways.. all tend to centralisation, regulation and low competition. All the ingredients for price inflation.
The idea of having to pay a fee to a series of private companies in order to be permitted to use money is absurd.
Dealing with cash isn't free to merchants either. And that cost is passed on to the customer.
Sure, governments that are pushing for a cashless society have ulterior motives. But you can't blame them for capping fees that used to be just spread onto everybody, regardless of the payment method. Now at least they're supposed to be comparable.
Banks have gotten more and more greedy, and come up with new and creative ways to charge extravagant fees, and thus charge merchants for cash orders and deposits (even though it is free for private customers).
These fees are however a very different concept, as the bank here is only a storage service. The fees are entirely avoidable by buying a safe, and the fees are not related to money changing hands.
With a credit card, fees are unavoidable and part of the transaction itself, and they're not even going to your bank, meaning that they want a slice of the cake from elsewhere (despite them technically earning money on your stored money through investments).
What recourse do you have if banks refuse to take your money? If credit card companies refuse to give you a line of credit? I don't know much about that level of infrastructure but it definitely seems ripe for abuse in this way. I don't know what laws govern this and it concerns me how the current system is set up that through activist pressure that people might not be able to sustain themselves for opinions that are declared outside the Overton window.
It's not ideal, and it's very easy to get ripped off, but it's possible to live that way. Millions of people do.
In nine years, bitcoin keeps on ticking and evolving. Segwit was/is a big deal, as lack of segwit held up further development. Lightning, x-chain atomic swaps, Schnorr signatures, MAST, side-chains to name a few additional features and improvements.
It's early days yet. Give it time.
In my neighborhood, with Square. Or at least that's how the kids a couple of streets over did it last year. With great big cartoony Visa and MasterCard logos on posterboard.
In Denmark, the MobilePay system is massive, and challenging credit card payments.
It is designed entirely for person-to-person payments, and only later added support for shop purchases as a lower-priority feature. It is used for all sorts of things, including splitting bills and selling used goods, all legal.
Sweden has Swish, but I never figured out if it was popular. MobilePay, on the other hand, is huge.
Edit: "Swipp" -> "Swish". Swipp is dead.
Norway also has a hugely popular p2p payment app called Vipps with 2.7 million users.
Disclaimer: I work for Vipps AS
MobilePay passed 3 million users in 2016 (out of ~7 million people). I don't have any updated statistics.
Anyway, with your added numbers, it is quite clear that at least in Scandinavia, person to person transfers are very common.
"Going cashless" is a flavor of class warfare. There are some people that absolutely depend on, live on, cash. Believe it or not, there are people that do not have access to cards.
Do people really have that much opportunity to spend cash? And for those opportunities, isn't the 2% tax a fairly reasonable price to pay for the safety of never needing to carry cash around and the convenience of never needing to go to an ATM or run out of cash?
I imagine petty theft crime has dropped significantly in large part because people stopped carrying cash.
Point 2 is.. I think your reasoning about cash costs relates to point 4. These kinds of costs are something that big, high turnover businesses are concerned with. I don't think a tiny, rural cafe cares too much that €190 of its €780 daily take is cash.
We pay with cards with paypass wirelessly without PIN for small amounts. This is faster than cash.
I recently stopped carrying coins and avoid paying cash.
And bank transfers are free in most banks. It takes half a day at most to reach destination bank.
In my country even beggars accept cashless payments.
The crude option is when 'undesirable' citizens will not be given credit cards, or if all their cards 'accidentally' stop functioning the same day to teach them a lesson. When no shop sells you food for money, your options are to beg, steal, or starve.
A more sophisticated option could be 'intelligent' credit cards that only allow you to buy approved stuff (otherwise the payment will fail); with the approval being general, or individual for each citizens, or depending on social class or whatever. This wouldn't happen overnight, but we can get there gradually... it may start by politically acceptable stuff like "you can't buy alcohol or guns using welfare money" and progress slowly.
- You want control to fight fraud/bad actors
- You don't want to much control for a single party (incl gov)
- It should work without necessary global communications (e.g. post disaster; global consensus like Bitcoin won't help there)
- Users want privacy
- Usual stuff like no double spending
- Transparency would be nice to verify correctness and no abuse by your bank
- Easy to use
We'll have a hard time finding a replacement satisfying them all. I wonder what we'll be willing to give up.
"But I have nothing to hide! I don't want to buy illegal stuff!"
Not right now, maybe. But who decides what's illegal and what's not?
A cashless society is one more step towards turn-key fascism, which is why it has to be opposed.
Also worth noting is that the chairman of the central bank of Sweden basically told the banks to stop whining and continue handling cash.
When I go to a bar or a McDonalds I pay cash for this reason.
No. The default is that what I spend my money on is no one else's god damn business. It doesn't matter if I spend it on puppies and charity and unicorn dolls, or if I spend it on dildos and drugs and hookers.
And it's incredibly important for society to progress, that everyone can choose to spend their money on things that are illegal, things that are unethical, things that are on the edges, things that are subversive, because economic activity is the best indicator we have of what society values.
I feel confused that you have this very accurate description of a problem ("companies sell your personal data") and your solution is "we must hide from the companies" instead of "we must enact laws to restrict dealing in personal data".
Facebook used contracts instead of technical controls to protect data, and we've seen how well that worked :)
I'll admit many on HN are obsessed with overly technical solutions, but "using cash" seems much simpler than "establish a complex regulatory regime".
Technical measures can also be effective, but they usually suffer from the problem that each individual must know about the threat, must know about the technical solution, and must use that solution, which usually requires some effort. I see very few people arguing that health inspectors ("policy") should be abolished and every individual should be responsible for not eating at unhygienic restaurants, even though there are technical solutions one could use that would allow someone to mitigate risks in such a scenario.
Clinging to an old and limited system because more technically advanced options seem hard and chalenging is a luddite attitude, whatever way you turn it. The way forward is not to go back to cash, but to find or build a better alternative.
It's completely normal to be "basically okay" with that... I use cards/apps to pay on a regular basis. However, it's a long haul between "okay with cashless transactions being a popular payment method", and "eliminating cash."
All the security people I know think that it is possible though, and likely to happen sometime. I feel like the longer it takes, the worse. We need something to shake us out of complacency.
Cashless transactions require a third party
With cash, or bottle caps, or any physical token, all you need are two people that agree it has value. Possession is the ledger.
If only there was a way to timestamp digital transactions without a write-only ledger...
all you need are two people that agree it has value
The entire idea of currency requires a network of people who project a common value in the implemented token/object/hash.
For most cases you don't have to wait for a confirmation. Accepting a typical non-RBF 0-conf transaction is safer than accepting a credit card payment, because it is trivial to reverse a CC charge, but difficult to suppress a 0-conf transaction sitting in the mempool of thousands of Bitcoin nodes.
«many coins have one pool with majority»
It is not the case for most popular coins: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC...
Considering that many people only read headlines, I'd support a movement for becoming more accurate even with headlines.
"In Sweden, some worry about the cashless society" would be way more apt.
It must be very small. The only person I've ever heard complain about it is... myself. Not for the reasons this article gives, though. I'm more upset about Visa and Mastercard skimming 1% of profit off of the entire country's retail commerce. Maybe if they weren't simultaneously terrible, but they also have unimaginably bad fraud detection, and push their own fraud problems onto local businesses.
However, I am not a payment expert, so there might be an additional fee imposed by the credit card networks which I am not aware of?
This percentage does seem a bit more reasonable for the services offered by Visa and Mastercard, in my eyes.
As the other response to my comment said, cash itself has an overhead cost, too. But that cost is paid to our government at break-even cost, instead of to a private company for profit.
If Visa and Mastercard had plenty of competition, it wouldn't be so bad. Swish is nice to have, despite its problems. Maybe we'll get there.
So a grocer that accepts Swish payments will in no way be hindered by this limit, unless they for some ungodly reason are also swishing money back to customers.
 Well, I say "crowns" in English
Magstripe transactions, non-EU cards, and non-consumer credit cards have higher rates.
Could be similar in Sweden.
A cashless country should just use the tax money on cash printing factories to cover the cost of transaction.
It's about an opposing opinion to the cashless trend that we're already used to.
You might not know anyone who shares the opinion but I do, several of them.
Personally I share the opinion on an ideological level but practically I'm just too lazy to make a real change in my life.
I have friends who always swing by the ATM before we go out, while I pay for everything on my cards.
But the real issue here is that if we rely 100% on an electronic method of payment we'll be more crippled than necessary if some calamity would befall our society.
I have not made any comment about opinions about cash, whether I know someone who is has concerns about the lack of cash, or about my own standpoint.
In general terms, I feel like you about the topic:
"Personally I share the opinion on an ideological level but practically I'm just too lazy to make a real change in my life."
That, however, can hardly be called "turning against cashlessness" :)
I 100% share this sentiment. The only times I use cash is when I travel to the US.
It is true you can get by without cash in Sweden but you cannot get by without a card, reasonably. But many of the corner markets have minimum payments by card, and so often having smallish money in cash is a very good thing. Additionally the farmer markets in the town squares are still mostly cash-based.
So I never found cashlessness to work entirely while I was there, whether I was in Malmo, Helsingborg, or Landskrona. Maybe in Stockholm it is different, and maybe it is different if you rarely buy at the farmer markets....
Germany, where I now live is the opposite. You can get by without a card, but you cannot get by without cash....
You might be cashless within your little tech circle, but it appears there are many more people who are uneasy with the idea.
It's totally possible to embrace the cashless lifestyle while being uneasy with it at the same time. I argue this actually is the norm. Like it is with a lot of stuff we do on the web as well. Who isn't uneasy with all the social media platforms but still uses some of them.
It's the new normal. Being uneasy with things and doing them.
The trend is most definitely towards cashless, not away from it.
I'd be very surprised if a drug dealer accepted Swish/Mobilepay.
If you go to a legal brothel in Nevada, it doesn't show up on your credit card with the brothel's name. It shows up as some bland innocuous looking generic company name like "ARB, Inc."
This is one of the reasons why casinos use chips rather than actual currency.
It's one of the reasons they use digital vouchers (scannable paper or loaded onto cards) instead of either, increasingly.
Only at slot machines. Table games are all chips.
When playing roulette, sometimes I'll see some drunk person throw a bunch of cash on the table and yell something like "Put it all on black!" It gets thrown right back at him until he gets chips from the cashier or has his money changed at the table at the appropriate time and in the customary fashion.
If you really just want to inflate the amount of money being spent, there's always room for more rent-seekers and debt collectors.
Only that, the holes are very elaborate. (Like perfumes or stupid shit like a metric crap ton of TVs nobody uses anyway because we are busy staring at a much smaller screen in our palm.)
The problem here, as with any economic ideas, is properly defining "stupid stuff". Value has to be defined on an individual basis. If someone gets more entertainment from digging holes and filling them with dirt than using their phone, then hole digging doesn't seem like such pointless endeavor. The hole digger will probably end up in better health than the phone user, too, so it's not like there endeavor is altogether pointless.
Taking options away (like cash) is a bad idea if you're optimizing society around individual autonomy. We should want as many options as possible.
If the average person didn't spend too much money on things they don't need, we'd have very high unemployment. The people with jobs might feel better and less stressed but a huge number of people would be extremely stressed and despondent.
It may sound obvious when I put it that way, but it seems to me that many times the political or economic proposals I hear fundamentally disagree with this goal.
Resources that are wasted on stuff that we don't need is directly taken from other better places that those resources could have been spent on.
By not spending now, we are instead able to spend those resources on the future.
The vast majority of people have skills and are employed in areas other than housing, food, transportation, healthcare, clothing, and education. What would they all do in a world where nobody bought massages or luxury vehicles or hair dye or designer clothes or airplanes or tasting menus?
Would you have all the artists and marketers retrain as farmers and green energy researchers? Would people really be happier in this hypothetical ultra-efficient future of such limited career choices?
People misinterprete it to this basterdized version a lot though.
The real Keynsian model is that we should spend more in bad times and LESS in good times to even out business cycles.
People always forget that second part...
It was NEVER about spending for the sake of spending or wasting money on things that we don't need to help the "economy".
People misinterpret it to the point where they believe the economy is some infinite motion machine, where you ad more motion and even more motion comes out.
It was always about business cycles, IE SAVE money in good times, so it can be spent in bad times.
That's an axiom, not a fact.
Or rather, it only becomes a fact when people want X and Y and Z out of the economy (e.g. constant growth) over other values (e.g. avoiding environmental externalities, non-shopping-related quality of life, stability, equality).
That could hypothetically be a good thing, invoking my inner Milton Friedman, if those on top then use that groundswell of 'free' money to then reinvest in their business and everybody moves upward. However in this case, as opposed to general supply side economics at large, you need to show that that subsequent trickle down is more beneficial than what was removed from those at the bottom. I think that's going to be improbable, especially as the merit of supply side economics itself becomes ever more debatable.
> Yet Sweden is divided into two camps: the first says "we love the new technology", while the other just can’t be bothered, Skarec says.
Also, it is scary that people think like this. Everyone is in such a rush to digitize everything and implement new tech that we don't think about the consequences of our actions. E.g the scandal from last year where Transportstyrelsen (Swedish Transport Agency) outsourced work to a company in the Czech Republic and gave people without security clearance access to the database. That included access to details concerning military vehicles and two different police registers.
This sounded so weird to me so I had to google it while on the phone with the support rep. Turns out it's a big shift where at some point around ten years ago, the government released control and now almost every big private actor is moving away from cash, despite the fact that it goes against the recommendation of nearly every expert in the field.
It worries me hugely, and I am considering switching banks to the only big bank that is actively in favour of dealing in cash: Handelsbanken. I know this will come at some cost to me, but if the alternative is sticking with a bank that does not even offer one of the core services of banking---even society---that will have to be worth it.
And with the new fin-tech banks like Monzo, Starling or Revolut the banking apps are light years ahead of traditional banks.
As of July 2017, 42.3% of transactions used cash in the UK:
The US has a similarly high percentage also.
I'm used to paying for that type of transaction with a card in Denmark.
(I paid partly in Danish coins, since I didn't have enough sterling and the cashier liked the resemblance to old Chinese coins with a hole in the middle.)
I've moved most of my travel purchasing over to TransferWise's new card. It's lacking a few features but it feels less...dodgy, frankly.
About half the places I shop support Apple and Google pay, and those systems always seem to take the card, but it's far faster than my phone or watch.
Way faster than chip, of course.
No idea why it didn't take off here, contactless cards have been the best experience for me by a mile.
Maybe people have had better luck with phone payments, but the negotiations with those seem glacial to me now.
In fact I still don't understand how people think this is a good idea to begin with.
As main method that is. I also use BitPay on my phone every once in a while
I don't have to unlock my card. Also, the card is much lighter and smaller, and I don't worry about dropping and breaking it, so the cognitive load is lighter.
I don't carry a wallet, though, just a card to pay for things, keys, and a license. I also don't carry my phone around unlocked, so those things might make a difference.
If you used the phone as the only thing in your pocket, because it had your DL (if you even drive) and unlocked your doors at home with a smart phone app, then I could definitely see the minimalist appeal. I really like having almost nothing in my pockets, and a phone could do that.
Even so, most tourists may not know their card's terms, and probably couldn't immediately tell you if the cash advance fee would be preferable to the international transaction fee, and so choose poorly.
[UGGH. Fixed a bunch of confusing typos.]
I'm reminded of the last night I spent on a trip to Budapest. First I went to a food truck and they would only take cash, and I was out of forints. Then I went to a bar and they would only let me pay with some app that apparently everyone in Hungary has, but I didn't, and I also didn't have a local data plan so I couldn't get it. I said to my wife that I just wanted to pay with present money (credit card), as opposed to past money (cash) or future money (app).
But the questoin is: if we just want cash to "be around" because in times of crisis it would be handy - who will pay for maintaining it? If you mandate it by law, chances are that businesses will just have some appearance of cash handling, but no idea how to do it in an actual crisis. Likewise, people who only need to use cash once in a crisis, aren't going to have cash on them, if there is a crisis
One of the reasons I don't have cash is because we are also hellbent on expiring our banknotes - the validity period of banknotes here is probably around 20 years on average. So unlike the US where you might be allowed to pay with a 50 year old green one, in Sweden you can't put a few thousand Kronor in a box in the basement for a crisis. It won't be accepted if that crisis is too far away - and I fear forgetting where I put the money and realize it's no longer valid. (Note that money can always be exchanged at the central bank for modern notes after they are expired - they aren't turned worthless - but that is probably not an option in times of crisis).
So while I agree with the idea of cash being a vital infrastructure in society - how to you encourage it enough to actually be a working system when it's needed, if it's not always needed? There is no way you'll convince the swedes to use a more cumbersome payment system than the least cumbersome one, because "it's good to support it". Mandating that everyone accept cash also seems like pretty bad idea (It will cost consumers a LOT).
OK, the shop might not be happy about it, but you owe them the value of goods, and you've paid them in legal tender to the correct amount.
If you leave bank notes of sufficient value and run out, they are very unlikely to attempt to prosecute you, but they could, both for the theft and the nuisance of leaving your property lying around in their store. And the case would probably be resolved on appeal somewhere, with one judge arguing that the state has an inherent interest in having its primary currency universally accepted by all businesses in its jurisdiction, and another arguing that the state is overreaching when it tells shopkeepers what they must accept as payment.
See for example thean who took cash from his company safe, and replaced the same value a week later, but who was convicted of theft because the notes were different. See R v Velyumi here: https://www.lawteacher.net/cases/theft-cases.php
Taking cash from a safe is also quite different to taking goods that are explicitly for sale. Especially if you gave them the right amount of money.
Note that Velumyl was an appeal on the grounds that the defendant did not intend to permanently deprive, thus the money being different was relevant as he permanently deprived the owner of that specific property. Had the defendant contented there was no dishonestly -- that he intended to return equivalent funds and believed that the company would consent -- the decision may well have been different.
 Theft Act 1968 s.2(1) https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/section/2
Heck, even my municipality doesn't take cash anymore (if you need to do things like renewing your passport).
Besides, this seems a bit of an "originalist" view of commercial transactions. I bet if I tried to pull that off, the police would take a dim view. But who knows, the Netherlands are a strange place.
Legal tender is "Legally valid currency that may be offered in payment of a debt and that a creditor must accept." ( https://www.wordnik.com/words/legal%20tender )
A retail store is perfectly permitted to have a "no cash accepted" policy. Even the public transit here generally has a "no cash" policy for fares.
For example, bus companies have had "cash strikes" after robberies, claiming cash is a danger against their working environment, and as a result nowadays most buses are cashless.
Retail shops and banks alike publicize and complain about the cost of handling cash transports securely.
We can guess these are probably complaints towards an end: yes, they want to save money. There is no vision or will to keep accepting cash.
I’d be the first proponent of a cashless society if we’d ban VISA and MasterCard from operating here.
German banks were also very accessible for foreigners.
Exactly how it works in The Netherlands as well.
Source: I worked in a coffeeshop, and got fed up with all the customers who wanted to pay by card which we did not accept (at that time) so consulted a lawyer on how to deal with this. It has to be communicated clearly, though I don't remember if it was at entrance or at the counter (IIRC the latter).
I don't know if this argument would hold up in court, as it can easily be gamed. But what are they going to have you do? Go and get the cash back and then pay it to the shopkeeper in court?
EDIT: On coming back to this, I agree with everything you said. I thought you had replied to my other comment in this thread where I proposed a way to pay with cash even where cash "isn't accepted", by just walking out of the shop "without paying", but leaving the correct amount of cash on the counter.
I've had accounts and credit cards frozen before. It's pretty alarming when you're traveling, for example. With cashless, what are you going to do?
It's like getting stuck on the "no-fly" list, but infinitely worse.
I have two credit cards (and one debit card, but I only use it as an ATM card to get cash, since you're still out the money until a problem is resolved). I mostly only use credit cards for online purchasing and gasoline -- because to pay cash there is inconvenient. And yet, I see to experience some kind of credit card fraud about once every couple years -- this is primarily why I have two credit cards, there's always a backup.
And besides that inconvenience -- changing all kinds of saved payment info when a card is replaced, given the extent to which (at least in this country) banks are free to share incredible amounts of information, you don't have to have "something to hide" to be interested in not sharing your entire purchasing history with these entities.
So I spend cash whenever possible simply to "vote" that I am willing to deal with a little more hassle in the name of freedom. I also don't like that some private party has effectively inserted themselves into the economy skimming 1.5% or whatever off the top of practically all consumer spending. It's only a cost savings if you literally do away with cash - and that's a dystopia I don't want to live in.
We live in a digital age and it’s only going to evolve faster. Money is nothing more than numbers in a system.
Heh, and someone would say that Facebook posts don't say much about you, but I bet really quickly how and where you spend money give a good profile of who you are.
This is one of the main reasons that governments are pushing for cashless systems, because there is less evetax evasion and increased revenue
The builders benefit because they then wont pay any income tax on the job
This also means that if you stiff your server and leave no tip, they are still getting taxed as though you left 10%. If you really want to be a jerk, be slightly less of a jerk by leaving a $0.01 tip on the receipt. This will also allow them to post it to outrage-fueled social media for a tiny bit of temporary fame.
Most people aren't that invested into stigginit to da Man, or at least not just via their restaurant tips. You'd be better off paying cash for everything, no-receipt requested, and not involving the electronic point-of-sale till at all.
I am deeply comfortable with the idea that I have the option to keep my spending habits private, and not subject to data mining. I also like the idea of not being tracked all the time, and I like the idea of general anonymity. I don't like the idea that my options are being removed form me, with no discernible benefit to me. You like paying by card? Excellent, go right ahead. I like to have the option, sometimes cash, sometimes electronic.
> “Most citizens would feel uncomfortable to surrender these social functions to private companies,” he said.
> “It should be obvious that Sweden’s preparedness would be weakened if, in a serious crisis or war, we had not decided in advance how households and companies would pay for fuel, supplies and other necessities.”
As for the preparedness of a nation to handle a cashless economy during a time of war, wouldn't a electronic ledger be must safer and reliable than if the government say just started printing more money leading to inflation problems. This has happens numerous times throughout times of history during war and could be avoided with a cashless economy.
No. Aside from the added vulnerability of the infrastructure needed to maintain and interact with an electronic ledger, such a system either still allows a government to issue new tokens (and thus has no effect on the issue you raise) or requires blunter, higher overhead means at serving the same national functions that wartime money printing serves, which means either (or both) more internal disruption or greater probability of losing the war.
During a war power plants will get bombed. Network and power cables will get bombed. Roads, railroads and bridges will get bombed, so power plants wouldn't even get fuel.
(The reason for paranoia is the history of https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi)
It is why many parts of the modern/post-war German bureaucracy were intentionally set up inefficient and why we still dislike any "central databases" for anything, from law enforcement to tax collection. Slow, decoupled government systems slow down unwanted usage patterns much more than valid ones, are generally harder to game (try explaining your urgent need for some data to a rural bavarian city hall employee) and easier to monitor/verify for citizens.
Your meal and beer entering your mouth probably took 100x as long as the difference between counting change and swiping a card. So why not puree them together? And damn anyone who thinks it was important to keep them separate; incomprehensible.
I don't think anyone would argue that since cars are bigger than cell phones, that we should make our cell phones as big as cars (it's incomprehensible to think that cars and cell phones should be different sizes). So why should we use a slower and less efficient payment method just because food takes more time to cook and prepare?
I don't think anyone would argue that since humans can only walk ~3mph, that airplanes should be limited to the same speed (it's incomprehensible to think that airplanes and humans should travel at different speeds). So why should we use a slower and less efficient payment method just because humans walk slower than an airplane flies?
Do you see what I'm getting at here? The speed at which you eat your food does not impact the speed of the payment method you prefer to use. All the payment method impacts is how much stuff you have to carry in your pockets, and how much can be stolen from you at any given moment.
I think what the parent means is that there are several other reasons, and at the same time makes a case against the main argument in favor of card transactions.
Many people simply feel they don't want to give up control over their cash, over information how they spend it, and basically: how they live their lives. As history shown us, once you give up this control, it's gone forever, and here are many actors eager to take over this information, not necessarily to the benefit of the citizen.
The argument is Amdahl's Law. Making something twice as fast which itself constitutes only 4% of the total latency doesn't make the whole task twice as fast, it only makes it 2% faster. Which absolutely does change how much you're willing to compromise in order to make that happen.
> I don't think anyone would argue that since humans can only walk ~3mph, that airplanes should be limited to the same speed (it's incomprehensible to think that airplanes and humans should travel at different speeds). So why should we use a slower and less efficient payment method just because humans walk slower than an airplane flies?
Because walking and flying are alternatives to each other rather than two components of the same task.
Consider why most people don't commute by air travel. Even if a plane would actually get you to work sooner, it isn't enough of an improvement to be worth the cost. You would still have to get to and from the airport, which creates a minimum latency no matter how fast the plane flies, and air travel is simply more expensive than driving.
Which is why high frequency traders pay electronically and not with cash, and why people traveling long distances fly. But people buying hamburgers may prefer to pay cash in a store they walked to because it's two blocks from where they live.
It does not, in fact. My insinuation is that perhaps some people have a preference against going cashless which has nothing to do with speed.
And sometimes it's even faster, when the card or the card reader don't work, the customer is old etc.
I understand I need to become more accustomed to the culture that I immigrate too, but that does not mean that there are not more efficient solutions compared to "the way its always been".
As for the card reader not working, this is usually only a problem with older machines or places without a strong internet connection.
You have to wait for the transaction to verify. That usually takes more than three seconds (at least here), which is roughly the amount of time it takes to get change.
Even with contactless, I always feel kind of bad to be paying by card at the super market because I'm slowing the queue down. If the amount goes over 20 euros or so and I have to enter my PIN, it's even slower. It's not even a contest compared to cash.
Where are you buying that has payment queues but doesn't scan the products? I only see people inputting the amount manually in restaurants/bars.
You can't consider the time it takes to enter the amount only in the case that suits you. If you have to enter the amount for cash, you have to enter it for the card as well.
Now that I think of it, I guess not all POSs require that (the cashier does the calculation for the change in their head), but in my experience they aren't common.
But yes, when the PIN comes into play it's slower than cash.
What it works out to be is that sometimes it's better to use card and sometimes it is better to use cash if speed is a factor. Someone that takes too long because they are fumbling for cash are just as likely to be the type of person that would have to fumble around for their card or have other issues operating the terminal.
Cash is quick and painless with only the most minimal amount of mental arithmetic necessary to give someone their change, not that your typical register won't spit it back out at you anyway.
If it is a sit down restaurant with table service though, there's no real positives or negatives to using either besides whatever is most convenient for you.
So all in all, all I see in any push to go cashless is the illusion of progress. It's all theater and it is strictly speaking, completely unnecessary to go cashless with considerable downsides if society is forced to.
OK maybe not inevitable but it's made a lot easier with wireless cards etc. And I do expect 'thugs' to catch on.
Plus, you can only do that on lower sums. If I pay a higher sum than allowed for wireless pay where I live (Sweden) I'd still need chip and pin, and often in restaurants I am told to enter the total sum plus whatever tip I want to give, then confirm, then enter pin.
So I'd say cash can be quicker in some cases, slower in other, but my main concern is in the area of privacy and security both of my cash, and my ability to pay in force majura-cases.
Have you seen the automated checkouts a lot of stores are installing? There is no cashier. You scan your items and insert bills in the slot. The change is calculated by a computer and returned immediately.
The coins needed to make any amount of change only weigh about an ounce.
How? The machines will literally take an entire stack of bills at once, read them and make change in the same time it takes to verify an electronic transaction.
You would need a stopwatch with sub-second precision to even tell the difference. Which one is faster is down more to the specific model of payment processing machine than the payment method.
And even if the card was theoretically faster, we're no longer talking about waiting for some high school kid to fumble around for 30 seconds. A difference of 300 milliseconds one way or the other is just pedantry.
And you can't count processing failures on one side but not the other. The machine can't read your card. The network is down. Some jerk at the bank fat fingered something and now you have to spend six hours on the phone sorting it out.
That isn't that impressive when you consider the equivalent traffic was handled in cash before electronic payment systems even existed.
> Even the time taken to empty the contents of your wallet into the appropriate slot of a cash system takes longer than those machines, never mind time taken to process the notes and coins, dispense change and allow you to put that change back in the appropriate compartments of your wallet.
Describing all the steps in detail doesn't make the total any longer. And half of that stuff can be done in parallel with other stuff. You can get out your money while you're waiting in line. You can put it away while you're walking out of the store. It doesn't add any real latency.
> And change-dispensing machines with their scanning software, moving parts and need to be fully stocked with change break down at least as often as networks for card based payments.
Stores typically have more than one checkout machine to handle the volume during peak traffic times, so one can be down and there is not even any consequence outside of peak hours, and only a minor delay even then.
If a network is down, it's down. Retail stores typically don't have redundant internet connections.
The obvious solution for extremely high volume systems is to have the fares come out to even numbers so there is no need to make change. How long are you imagining it takes to drop a coin or two into a turnstile?
Even if London Underground decided to upset millions of commuters by raising the price to a round £5 in the most expensive attempt to rescue an incorrect HN claim yet, the contactless system would still be quicker than the machine that scans a fiver. Trust us, we've actually used both...
> Even if London Underground decided to upset millions of commuters by raising the price to a round £5
If people would really be so upset with a 2% fare increase then imagine how happy they would be to round it down rather than up. It's even good policy -- encourage mass transit over driving.
For that matter you could issue single ride transit tokens for whatever exact price you like. The point of cash isn't to use a specific currency, it's to allow people to travel and make small purchases anonymously.
Even what NYC does now is better than using contactless payments, because you can buy a Metro Card for cash without providing a name. It's not quite as good because they still track the cards, but it's still better than having all of everyone's movements perfectly tracked by an Orwellian state computer.
> the contactless system would still be quicker than the machine that scans a fiver. Trust us, we've actually used both...
Comparing the fastest available electronic system to some kind of anachronism with paper tickets and slow readers is obviously going to favor the newer system -- although even then it's still a matter of seconds. But how is that the fair comparison? The comparison has to be between the best available electronic system and the best available cash-equivalent system that preserves privacy.
And dropping a dollar coin or a transit token into a slot in a turnstile is as close to instantaneous as makes no difference. Certainly not enough to justify tracking everyone's movements.
And in stores that don't accept credit cards you have to pay cash. What does that have to do with anything? Machines that can rapidly make change for cash purchases are still a thing that exist. Stores whose customers prefer them can install them -- and then not have to pay a percentage to the credit card companies.
Unfortunately, that’s already a trend we’ve been seeing in the US youth for the past 20 years.
And I know it doesn't matter but when you pay with a credit card or third party payment service you are not paying. Some other entity is.
Most recently, I have a repeatable bug in Walgreens where my newly issued credit card (old expired) will not run chip transactions. Their system requires me to attempt a chip transaction first (of which I must do three times) before it will allow me to finally swipe (and work). If I attempt to swipe at first it will require a chip transaction (and on, and on, and on...)
However I can't completely blame Walgreens on it; they're the only one that's reproducable 100% of the time (3-5x now since card was issued). I've also had to re-do transactions with that card at Target but that's hit-and-miss.
I doubt that's the case, especially since fees are usually percent based. Someone accepting, making change for, and depositing $1000 vs. $1 takes about the same amount of effort, but $1000 charged will cost them much more than $1 charge. Maybe if the fees were flat or something like 0.001%, but they're always much higher.
From what I can tell these people simply prefer cash. I just asked and my gf said it's just a lot faster to do it by hand.
We must be living in very different Germanys.
I suspect it is to some extent because it is easier to cook the books when you are receiving a large chunk of your income in cash, much less easy if it flows into your company through your bank account.