Cash has always been an important part of our lives and it might be tough to imagine a life without it. Well, increasingly, a cashless society is becoming more of a reality as more and more of us use cards and mobile payment methods.
The use of cash is slowly declining and many experts have predicted that cash payments will fall by as much as thirty per cent in the next ten years. Places such as Thailand, Denmark and Sweden have already passed laws allowing businesses to bar cash payments and only accept payments via mobile applications or credit cards. While there are no fully cashless societies in existence – it’s really not that far away.
Operating without cash will undoubtedly indicate a big change in the way businesses manage their payments. However, being cashless could have a number of benefits for startup businesses.
At a basic level, those who have to count cash at the end of each working day will no longer need to do so – taking away a time-consuming task for many small businesses, especially those in the retail sector. This is a step in the right direction for making payment and invoices more secure for everyone too, something that can be tough if you don’t have the budget to afford complex security measures.
That size differential is something else that the move to digital payments could help. Smaller businesses – with one or two premises – require less time and effort to install new technology and get ahead of the curve. That helps to boost their reputation in the eyes of the consumer – it’s good to appear to be tech-savvy after all – and give them the time, cost and scale benefits of a technology that bigger rivals haven’t had chance to roll out. Startups can be fleet-of-foot and don’t need to go through a long-winded sign-off process too.
There’s also a time saving – the quicker the payment the quicker you can get through a queue of customers – and a hygiene benefit for businesses that have to be careful about handling food and drink and money.
Cryptocurrencies – digital-only payment methods such as Bitcoin – can make transactions more secure and avoid the need for banking fees as they cut out the middle man. This reduces the cost for startups and allows them to handle transactions across different countries, for example, in the way that bigger businesses find natural (and can afford the fees to do).
Clearly, there are challenges. The initial set-up costs of embracing new technology can be tough for a start-up to afford, for example, and start-ups might feel less inclined to take a risk and invest in a new technique that isn’t tested. However, a cashless society can actually reduce some the hassle and cost faced by a start-up and is something to be embraced rather than feared.