Just where IS cash going

When we were younger we may have thought how our great grandparents might wonder at the way things are; we experienced such change through the 20th Century at a pace that was greater than the 19th and far faster than any previously.

But for us, today, change seems to be almost daily.
My husband now owns an all electric car and such vehicles are fast becoming popular with technology promising great things over the next five years.

coinstack60And so it is with money.
John Biggins of the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn in New York. In 1946 Biggins invented the “Charge-It” program between bank customers and local merchants but the fits ‘main stream’ card issues in 1950 was the Diners Club credit card, invented by Diners’ Club founder Frank McNamara intended to pay restaurant bills.

Credit cards were first promoted to salesmen going from call to call for use on the road. By the early 1960s, more companies offered credit cards, advertising them as a time-saving device rather than a form of credit. American Express and MasterCard became huge successes overnight.
By the end of the 20th century debt accrued on credit cards and store cards was considered to be a major contributing element of the world crash in 2008 when we had the banking crisis.

And so to innovation in the handling and use of money today.
News of the death of cash has always been exaggerated.But the wounds being inflicted on notes and coins multiply. On 17th March Facebook announced that in America its instant-messaging app will soon allow users to send each other money just as easily as texts and photos. All they need to do is link their debit cards to their Facebook account, tap on a dollar sign in the app, type in the amount and press send.

Facebook’s new offering is further proof that technology firms are moving onto banks’ turf. Next month Apple will begin selling its smart watch, which lets consumers pay by waving their arm at the till; this will help the firm’s new contactless payment service.

Google recently bought Softcard, a mobile-payment service, to boost its own payment app and catch up with Apple. Meanwhile Naver, South Korea’s biggest online portal, will launch a new mobile-payment service in June.

Facebook has 1.4 billion members, its messaging service 500m users. Many send remittances across borders; some are probably unbanked.

The regulatory and logistical challenges of serving such customers would be huge; banks struggle to profit from them. But then, that is just the sort of challenge tech firms relish.

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