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What are the pros and cons of a completely cashless society?


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I would say that a system in which major financial institutions are able to take a cut out of, and keep a record of, every transaction you make is mostly cons.

I use cash for most of my purchases still.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

I think it would depend on the form of cashlessness we are talking about. a Credit card society vs a Paypay society is very different

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Cons. Cashless isn’t free, shops and business have to pay the card provider when you make a purchase, which they pass on to the customer. Systems failures mean you can’t buy or sell anything. Banks know your spending habits. It disenfranchises those who don’t have accounts or have issues using cards or cyber payments - mostly the elderly and vulnerable. For some it’s harder to budget and mange non cash payments. Some smaller businesses, like the stalls at local markets here don’t have the facilities for non-cash payments.

Pros. If you are making a large purchase you don’t have to carry a lot of money around.

Personally, I prefer to use cash and avoid card only shops and restaurants. I haven’t used my card in a shop for a while.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I've already got used to cards and digital transaction. It is no doubt convenient for real life.

For downside, online security breach may be a big concern (but still it is safer than physical cash delivery & transaction on the street, subject to risk of loss or robbery).

Personally I'd get more troubled when it comes to stricter verification processes. You should have (longer) passwords to remember, or pass through image selections, etc. Also I still hesitate to submit my biometric info (iris, fingerprint) for authentication.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

One con I can think of. I still remember the joy and excitement of opening a birthday card from my Grandma and finding a $10 bill inside. My mother still does it for my kids. It's a small thing, but cashless ruins that joy a kid can get from such a simple gesture.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

@zichi You pay with our phones?

Smart move

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think Luddite pretty much nails it.

Personally, I prefer to use cash and avoid card only shops and restaurants. I haven’t used my card in a shop for a while.

Same here. I also feel more in control of my spending (read: cashless money is "easy to spend" (sigh) or "fools and their money are easily parted" (sigh again) ).


I would think that robbery is more a thing abroad (I'm from Europe, and, yes at home it's definitely a risk) than Japan. In Japan, I would think that losing the money would be more of a risk. (I'm fed up of picking up people's wallets in public restrooms or in the streets...)

The real problem in Japan is online security as cyber-security is pretty much 10-20 years behind the times. Here's a list of data leaks (caveat: some maybe foreign operator whose activities impacted Japanese users by ricochet (e.g. Facebook). )


In this regard, Japan has a lot of homework to do before convincing me to go cashless or give them my private information...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Mostly cons. The government can easily monitor every transaction and block them if it wants. Cashless is a dictator's dream tech. It excludes those who cannot use the tech. Tech is less resilient than physical cash: When the power goes off or the network goes down you can't use it. Cash can't be hacked by someone miles away, sat at their PC. Cashless is another part of the Orwellian dystopia we are building for the next generation.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Addition: Oh, yeah I forgot that one!

A few years ago, there was a data-leak by Benesse Corp. I guess it was this one back in 2014.

ベネッセ個人情報流出事件 - 2014年7月9日に発覚した顧客情報漏洩事件。3504万件の漏洩と公表

I took notice of the news but sweat it off as I never had anything to do whatsoever with Benesse. 2-3 weeks later I get a mail from Benesse offering excuses for the data-leak and giving me a 500 JPY coupon for shopping!

Before even considering the 500 JPY indemnity as a complete joke (if in the US, I would sue their .sses!), there was the problem that Benesse seemingly was in possession of my private information although I never ever registered with them (I even checked their subsidiaries and the services provided to see if maybe I used one of their side group companies even one of those where Benesse had minimum shareholding power, but nope!). Where the heck did they get my personal information to start with???

This one hasn't ceased to bug me and pretty much annihilated any trust I have as far as personal information management goes in Japan. So, not likely to go cashless in Japan any time soon...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The cost of cashless greatly override the tiny less stuff to carry, simpler and quicker to use. Society should not go totally cashless. The only pro are for totalitarian regime.

It is a form of stalking. (someone else will have access to any spending information about you regardless of if you are willing to share it or not)

It force people to agree on infringement of personal rights (you will have to agree with the term if you want to use it and you will have to agree if you want to feed/house/... yourself if the whole society goes cashless).

User have to pay for it : terminal for business, card, smartphone, ... for individual.

And in the instance of losing it will have to repay for it. (If I loose my Icoca/Suica/... card I loose he money on it + the cost of the card so I will have to buy a new one and put money on it ; If I loose my smartphone I have to repay my smartphone and spend lot of time putting back everything ; for the money like with bank card it will depend of it is cracked and someone use it to pay them if company agree to repay or not which is lot of work and time). Loss of cashless tools will also mean that during the time needed to get a new one you will be moneyless, you will not be able to store a bit of money to make sure you can go through national holiday if you loose your cashless.

Anybody unable to afford the tools will end up moneyless.

We can not make random/easy donation & the like with these. Homeless will loose a way to gain money : be it by passer-by throwing a few coin, hunting coin falling near vending machine, even for The Big One it can make thing difficult by having to learn to use the tools.

As pointed before, most cashless option are not every user friendly.

Cashless rely on electricity, no electricity no money.

The ecological cost of all these electronic transaction and data storing and the electricity to make the tools works. I doubt it is inferior of the one of cash option.

No society should go completely cashless. Cashless should not be more than another option.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Pros: It's efficient! you can pay with just a tap of a card or a button on your phone. It's contactless. At a time like this, this is a welcome thing.

Cons: first, you leave a paper trail that is easier to follow given that most e-currencies and other payment systems rely on you having an account. ( I remember South Korea disclosing last year that they used credit card purchase info and phone signal to triangulate covid-19 close contacts). second, susceptible to hacking. yes, cash can be stolen as well. Third, It's dependent on electricity and signal reception. Good luck with paying a store in the middle of nowhere if you're out of batteries or no internet service. Fourth, it's already in the system. it only takes one court order for these providers to hold off you e-cash and deny you access from it for whatever reason. fifth, it makes spending is less guilty. handing over paper bills feels a lot heavier than paying the same amount with a piece of plastic or a press of a button. before you know it, you've blown through your savings.

cold hard cash on your person that is broken into small denominations are best.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Nothing has really changed, because it’s neither convenient, more effective or time saving nor does it help you in any way to beforehand get or earn all that cashless cash.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rarely use cash anymore - In fact I just looked,and I've not withdrawn any cash since 2nd November (this is mostly a gambling float) I have Suica on my phone for JR/Subway. My bank card doubles up as Visa Debit and ID card for daily purchases, lunch and taxis and I use my Amex for larger purchases. I get air miles off my bank card and my Amex card is also a Star Alliance Gold Card. No more pocketfuls of change. The only conceivable time I see myself using cash from now is when I'm doing something I shouldn't be (no paper trail) or putting in envelopes for weddings or funerals.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I've been cashless at some point in my life, no pros to it =)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

We're all broke.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my view, the pros is that we don't have to carry heavy load of coins in our wallets. Also, almost every person, including from kids to people with disorder, will be able to use money without any worries or bothering. On the other hand, personal security is concerned since such information is not always be used as a correct way. Once personal data is leaked in our society, it takes weeks or months to be solved. In addition, we might be less appreciate for the importance of dealing with money. As a result, children come to less understand the weight of responsibility for having money. In terms of a field of education, cash can be a key tool to teach children how important it is to use money.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Carry both. Use each with discretion. I write two cheques (yes, old-fashioned) every month. I use cash and a debit card. But the debit card's use is limited in spite of a $10,000 daily limit (more than most folks). I just don't really care. Discretion is the most important issue with this debate. Be safe, or be sorry. No one but you will care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Amazon in the UK will not accept Visa credit cards from January.

Another problem with the cashless society, sellers decide which cards they take, if you have the wrong one you’ve had it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I definitely don't want to see cash disappear but I mainly use cards because I am tired of all these useless 1 and 5 yen coins. It wouldn't be so bad if machines accepted them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is this “cash” you all are talking about using or not?

I buy my bread and meat with gold doubloons and sterling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The cashless society does not yet exist anywhere and will not exist anytime soon. The cashless society is just an option to the existing cash society in all countries at the moment.

The typical argument is "what will the old people who don't know how to use computers or those who just don't want cards and cashless payments do?!?!?". This is nonsense. If someone just doesn't want to use it, they don't have to. There's always the option of paying with cash.

And the absurd argument about tracking electronic payments? Yes, but it's the same as the ability to track regular currency - serial numbers of bills in the context of, say, a CCTV system and matching the camera footage and the time of receipt of a particular bill.

Unfortunately, the arguments on both sides are generally limited to two camps - the aluminum hats and those who don't understand the issue at all.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Two words - Power Outage.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We will all be permanent residents of the Metaverse soon and won't need any material goods. Just strapped to a gurney with an electrode jammed in our ear with a direct connection.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's always the option of paying with cash.

There are many shops and businesses that will only take cards. Other businesses and services are online only. There are huge debates going on about how our increasingly cashless world discriminates against the poor, the elderly, the vulnerable. Just because it doesn’t effect you doesn't mean it isn’t happening. It will soon. A UK report from the summer. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/16/cashless-society-draws-closer-with-only-one-in-six-payments-now-in-cash

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are many shops and businesses that will only take cards.

Where? I have never seen that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Less bacterial contact!

Easier to carry cards then coins!


Computer glitches and hackers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Reckless : I know of quite a few restaurants in Central Tokyo that no longer take cash. Make it very clear you when you book or on entry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pros: No need to carry a wallet.

Cons: Big brother is watching you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My fat friend sometimes forgets his wallet particularly when the check comes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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