The Future Of Our Money Essay

2559 words - 10 pages

The invention of money is perhaps one of the greatest achievements of human civilization. From the very beginning of society, people have used money to circumvent the difficulties of bartering and to foster trade and commerce. Since then, money has come a long way. No longer do we need to rely on silver coins, cocoa beans, or even anything of intrinsic value to conduct our business; today, we use paper currency, which is convenient and easy to carry around. But slowly, we are moving into the digital age of money, an age in which less of our money is actually tangible and more of it is just data on a computer server. To some, this prospect may seem daunting. However, given the major advantages of electronic money over outmoded paper counterpart, society as a whole should embrace the upcoming era of digital money.
Digital money is undeniably convenient; anyone who has used a credit or debit card understands this. However, the era of digital money is only beginning; rapid technological advances will continue to make paper money a remnant of the past. Several innovations are already lessening the burden in your wallet. For instance, the seemingly innocuous mobile phone is actually playing an increasing role in facilitating monetary transactions, especially in Asia. Already, in Japan, large companies such as Coca-Cola have sanctioned vending machines that are not only compatible with common cell phones but also allow consumers to earn credits for using them (Kupetz). In this regard, the United States is strikingly behind the times when compared to other countries. Another new technology in the vein of mobile phones is no-contact cards. These innovative cards do not require a cashier to conduct a transaction; one simply holds a specialized card up to a receiver, and a purchase is instantly made. No-contact card technology is being implemented in the UK in preparation for the 2012 Olympics; under the current plan, entire areas would be converted into “cashless environments” (Mari). Some would be quick to point out that, as cool as these features seem, they are nothing but gimmicks; however, these conveniences are designed to make spending easier, and ease of transferring money actually helps to promote consumer spending. For instance, in 2009, sales on “Cyber Monday”, the online analogue of Black Friday, rose 11 percent from the year before, despite the worsening economy (Coremetrics qtd. by Kharif). People are quickly moving from physical, brick and mortar establishments to the online world to make purchases, aided by the ease of purchase and a greater variety of items to pick from. Similarly, donations have also seen a surge thanks to the digitization of money. In the wake of the recent Haitian earthquakes, more and more people have made contributions via clicking a button on online services such as PayPal or through simply texting the phrase “Haiti” to 90999, which automatically adds $10 to the sender's cell phone bill. (McCoy) These methods of...

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