There was a time when cash was king, but a growing number of businesses worldwide are now refusing to accept payment with bank notes or coins.
In the United States, the move toward a cashless society has sparked a backlash amid fears that digital payments marginalize the poor, especially the 8.4 million households-6.5 percent of all households in the country-that do not have a bank account or access to a credit card, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, has cracked down on merchants who refuse to accept cash. But the move comes as the nation’s digital economy accelerates, with 1 billion people regularly paying for items on their mobile phones.
Sweden could be completely cashless by 2023, but about 1 million Swedes are not ready for digital payments, according to Christina Tallberg, president of the Swedish National Pensioners’ Organization. Some 600,000 elderly Swedes forced to use digital currency when using a public restroom or parking a car are some of the biggest opponents in the Scandinavian country of a cashless society.