What if cash didn’t exist?
Many have dubbed this scenario as the Cashless Society.
And whether you like it or not, this Cashless Society is not already in full swing, but it will soon make cash a thing of the past.
This week’s Letter is a prequel to a report I will soon be releasing on how to take advantage of this world without cash.
No, it’s not about investing in Bitcoin or gold.
And it’s not about some sinister plot on how to protect yourself from the government stealing your money – even if they could (or will) in a world without cash.
But you do need to know what this means for your future so that you cannot only protect yourself but also profit from the inevitable shift.
Cash is Worthless
Cash will essentially be worth less than the paper it’s printed on because it won’t be printed on paper at all.
It will literally ALL become digitized.
That means the cost of creating cash will literally be zero, but through transactions and “record-keeping” banks and other institutions such as the government will still make an incredible profit by taking a cut of everything you do.
They will be able to track your spending, tax you on everything, and make trillions along the way. Yes, trillions.
Of course, going cashless isn’t a new phenomenon. The world has been aggressively moving away from cash over the past decade.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that this race to become cashless is being led by the nations who have printed the most cash: Europe, North America, and the larger economies of Asia such as China and India.
No More Cash
A study done in 2014 for MasterCard found that the countries of Singapore, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Canada, Belgium and the UK were all running neck and neck in the number of transactions done using ‘non-cash methods’.
Another four countries, led by the USA, were considered to be at the ‘tipping point’ to become mainly cashless.
Also, and maybe because of all that snow between us and our banks, Canada ranked Number One when it comes to how ready we are to become cashless, and Number Two (after Singapore) in the speed with which we are abandoning cash for plastic or digital wallets.
But outside of consumerism and our choice to use plastic and digital currency, governments around the world have begun to even make cash transactions illegal.
In Europe, the European Union Commission claims that it’s limiting the amount of cash people can use in order to stop financing terrorism and money laundering.
In fact, the European Central Bank last year has already phased out the use of the 500-euro bill.
In France and Italy, it’s illegal to use cash to buy anything that costs more than €1,000.
(Yes, you can still use cash for “private” transactions, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of fighting terrorism since most of those transactions are private anyway?)
In Spain, they also just dropped the maximum cash transaction from €2500 down to €1,000.
Even Germany is talking about banning cash payments of more than €5,000.
In Sweden, cash transactions are already a thing of the past. According to Sweden’s central bank, by 2020, cash transactions will make up a mere 0.5% of the value of all payments made in Sweden.
And in Denmark, via Independent:
“The Danish government has said that as of next year, business such as clothing retailers, restaurants, and petrol stations should no longer be legally bound to accept cash payments.”
But it’s not just Europe.
Just last year, India removed 86% of the currency in circulation and made it illegal to spend more than $4000 in any cash transactions.
If you think this is only happening overseas, think again…
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In the U.S., Louisiana already bans the use of cash for buying used items.
And most Americans forget that all cash transactions above US$10,000 is supposed to be reported.
It’s no different in Canada.
In Canada, if you receive an amount of $10,000 or more in cash in the course of a single transaction; or receive two or more cash amounts of less than $10,000 that total $10,000 or more (24-hour rule), you’re supposed to report this to FINTRAC within 15 calendar days after the transaction.
The truth is, world governments are always looking for ways to monitor and control its citizens and what better way to do that than to control your money.
In the end, as billionaire investor Jim Rogers tells us: our children will probably never go to a bank when they’re adults.
Because most transactions in the near future will simply be done using some sort of digitization on your phone, watch or other digital devices.
The Move to Digital
What may appear to be a simple change is actually a drastic step in the world’s evolution.
In Denmark, the Danes are already moving away from paper and metal money whereby “almost a third of the population uses an official Danske Bank app called MobilePay – it links your mobile to other users’ phones or to a sensor at the till allowing you to confirm payments with a simple swipe on your smartphone’s screen.
In the UK, technologies like Paym are available, which allows users to transfer money to others by entering their mobile number.
In the U.S., Google Wallet turns your phone into a contactless card, allowing you to tap your device against readers to transfer money.”
Wealth and Power Through Transactions
In other words, unimaginable wealth and power will go to those companies who take over from traditional currencies.
In 2015, Visa alone earned $13.8 billion in revenues, and that doesn’t include the cut taken by the banks.
There is a reason the two largest corporations in the world – Apple and Google – are focusing their efforts on mobile payments.
Just two years ago, in 2015, only three per cent of payments were made using mobile phones.
Mobile payments reached the $1 trillion mark the next year, and now a report by British-based Juniper Research predicted these types of digital wallets will account for $1.34 trillion in global spending in 2017.
To the industry know-it-alls who predict the decline of Apple because they haven’t developed a significant new technology clearly missed the point.
Mobile payments are one way Apple, Google, and others are paving the way for vast profits in the very near future.
The ubiquity of their mobile devices is allowing them to dominate the financial industry, while those ‘analysts’ argue about who has the best screen or the coolest apps.
According to Jennifer Bailey, vice-president of Apple’s Apple Pay, more than 35.0% of US retailers already accept the mobile payment service. This number is undoubtedly going to rise this year, and she expects it to rise to a whopping 67% this year.
In fact, Apple Pay transactions rose an incredible 500% YoY (year-over-year) in Apple’s fourth quarter last year.
Users of the mobile payments service completed more transactions in the month of September 2016 than the entire year of 2015.
More than a decade ago, I predicted that our mobile phones would become the center of everything we do.
We now use our phones for almost everything, including monitoring our homes and even opening our doors.
Within the next few years, it will become the primary gateway for our money.
This, of course, means more than just convenience…
Big Brother, Big Taxes
There is a reason why governments around the world are taking steps to eliminate cash.
And it’s certainly not just about fighting terrorism and money laundering; nor is it about making it easier for retailers and the like to conduct transactions.
It’s because ALL of the governments in the developed nations are mired in debt.
What better way to pay off debt than to collect taxes?
What better way to collect taxes than to make sure EVERYTHING we do is taxed?
In Europe, the European Payments Council is already aggressively pursuing the implementation of electronic payment systems throughout the entire European Union.
First it was the creation of the Euro, and now it will be the creation of an electronic payment system that is completely tracked by the government.
This system is called the Single European Payments Area (SEPA).
At first glance, it has the appearance of making transactions easier and less costly.
“The Single Euro Payments Area (or “SEPA” for short) changed all this. It made all electronic payments in the euro area as easy as cash payments. You can make fast and secure transfers between bank accounts anywhere in the euro area. And if you are shopping abroad, you can also use your bank debit card to make a payment in euro, as you would in your home country.
SEPA is where more than 500 million citizens, over 20 million businesses, and European public authorities can make and receive payments in euro under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of their location.
…Use your debit card anywhere in the euro area: when you’re on holiday or visiting another euro area country, you will be able to pay with your debit card as you would at home. This is particularly useful if you do not have a credit card, or for making low-value purchases for which a credit card is often not accepted. Nor will you need to carry around lots of cash, since you will be able to use your debit card anywhere at any time, and to make withdrawals from cash machines, just as if you were at home.”
This does appear to be great news – only I suspect that eventually – given that cash is being removed from major economies – all transactions will be done using some sort of App or digital card.
This also means that every transaction you do will be taxed.
You may not realize it now, but all of these digital transactions come with an added cost.
With Apple Pay, Apple takes a small cut of every transaction – not from you, but from the merchant.
That means eventually, small businesses that want – need – to accept digital currency will not only be taxed by Apple, Google, or Visa, but it will also be taxed by the government.
This in turn will force businesses to raise their prices just to pay for these transaction costs.
In other words, there are going to be a few groups that get a piece of every dollar and cent you spend in the future.
Now that’s power.
The Cashless Society is Already Here
If you want more proof that we’re headed towards a cashless society, just look at Greece.
According to the National Herald:
” In a bold bid to end tax evasion, Greek banks have proposed taxing cash withdrawals and requiring use of debit and credit cards for all transaction.
Bank officials said cash is easily funneled into the underground economy, costing the state an estimated loss of 15 billion euros ($15.88 billion) a year, which would stop if there were no cash.
The banks said imposing a tax on withdrawals would drastically reduce transactions in cash and therefore the illegal economy as well, Kathimerini reported.
Lenders are also asking for the compulsory use of cards or other online means for all transactions concerning professions rife with tax cheats or where cash is used as payment, such as mechanics, doctors and others who provide services without giving receipts.
Credit and debit cards as well as the new technologies that allow for contactless transactions, such as cell phone apps, should be possible to use even for the smallest transactions, from the purchase of a newspaper to buying a bus ticket, banks argue.”
No More Bank Runs
If all money becomes digitized, then there would be no such thing as a bank run.
In fact, should the financial system ever fail, you would have nowhere to run at all.
Governments will no longer have to impose capital controls nor limit withdrawals.
And if you look at some of the measures taken by governments around the world, you would see that they have already put us in a position to lose.
For example, in the UK, under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), £85,000 per person per institution is protected.
That means if you have more than £75,000 in a UK bank that fails, you’re shit out of luck.
Digital transactions have already overtaken cash transactions in most parts of the world.
Take a look via WorldAtlas:
While much of the world still uses cash as a component of monetary transactions, keep in mind that all it takes is for a single law to be passed and even more cash can be eliminated.
Just ask India.
Via Times of India:
“…Digital transactions have surged in the range of 400-1,000 per cent since November 8 when the government announced the discontinuation of old Rs 500/1000 notes, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.
“Digital payments have increased in the range of 400 to 1,000 per cent since November 8. This figure does not include transactions done through Master and Visa cards…”
I have always said that if you know what’s happening, you can not only prepare for it but also profit from it.Next week, I’ll have a full report on this controversial but profitable topic.
Stay tuned…a cashless society doesn’t mean you can’t win.