Plastic swipes, chip readers and mobile apps have transformed the way consumers transact. They enjoy the convenience, speed and efficiency of living in a post-cash world. A World Without Money examines this new reality, and probes the potential benefits and drawbacks of living in a cashless society.
For the older generation, cash in hand provides a sense of security and normalcy. But even they realize the need to adapt with the evolving economy. In some areas across the globe, they aren't given much of a choice.
In a small German town, a "money bus" roams the pleasant streets of unassuming neighborhoods. This travelling ATM attempts to compensate for the town's lack of banking institutions. Citizens who are fortunate enough to catch the bus on its route are given an opportunity to extract real cash money.
In Sweden, cash options are even more limited. Here, they've embraced a payment system called Swish, a mobile-based platform that requires only a seller's phone number to complete a transaction.
For vendors and banks alike, cash has quickly become an annoyance. The process of accepting and depositing cash - as well as prohibitive bank rates that accompany such activity - further incentivizes the use of a wholly digital payment platform.
Regulators are also heaving a sigh of relief as the public reliance on cash continues to wane. Cash, they say, often aid criminals in tax evasion and other illegal enterprises. Conversely, digital transactions are immediately logged and easily traceable.
In the face of unparalleled convenience and the shiny allure of futuristic technology, many consumers are oblivious to the dangers of a cashless society. Beyond the awkwardness of the generational gap, the end of cash could exacerbate issues related to personal privacy and security. Up to 80% of all money exists as digital code. A successful hack or computer glitch could swiftly erase a person's monetary worth. Every transaction produces another bit of personal data, and consumers are largely in the dark as to where this information travels and who ultimately profits from it.
A World Without Money outlines a trend whose growth seems both inevitable and unstoppable, and provides insights on the safeguards we must take along the way.
Directed by: Hanspeter Michel