Adam Wood, CEO of Forex Group in Australia grew up in a family where money and economics were regular dinnertime conversation, so it was destiny that he started his own Foreign Exchange business at 22. It has now become one of the largest non-bank FX brokerages in the nation and at 26 he was nominated for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by one of the largest banks in the country.
Wood has been closely following developments in the USA where the Federal Reserve is pushing a program to transform the economy from a cash society as we have always known it, towards an all-electronic money supply; in other words, the end of physical money in America, which will no doubt have extensive knock on implications to the rest of the world.
The prestigious Brookings Institution recently reported: “Over the course of history, there have been many different forms of payment systems, including barter, gold and paper currency. In the mid-20th century, charge cards debuted. Ever since then, pundits have been predicting the demise of cash and the emergence of a cashless society.” It seems this is now upon us.
As Wood says, “Most people think a cashless society is something way off in the distant future, if not a bit fanciful. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The truth is that a cashless society is much closer than most people would ever dare to imagine.”
The reality is money is already becoming more of a concept than a physical entity and most people have not registered the switch. Many people now use credit and debit cards for most of their transactions from buying a burger at McDonalds, to filling the car, grocery shopping and buying online. Even more traditional cash-based businesses like taxis are set up to accept cards and it’s not even uncommon to find the local craft market stall holder accepting cards . And when transactions are done with cash, many of them tend to involve only small amounts of money.
So what are the implications for international trade where vast amounts of goods and services are exchanged across borders? According to Wood, “There will be minimal impact to normal flows of trade. International transactions are already settled through the electronic banking system and all importers and exporters are comfortable with the process. As long as they continue to have systems in place to manage risk and exchange of currencies, there will be limited impact.”
ABC recently reported, “All this money flowing through the digital clouds has some people worried. Some think having all our details on a device could make us easy targets for cyber criminals. But others say there are always fears when new technology comes in. Cash isn’t that safe itself. It can be stolen from banks and unlike with this new technology, you can’t easily track it if it goes missing! Cash isn’t out of fashion just yet. It’s still the most common way to pay. But with the mobile money train moving so fast, a cashless society will soon be available if you want it!”
Despite the incredible penetration of credit and debit card transactions in the global economy, and the boom in internet shopping, few will willingly admit that a cashless society is nearly upon us. Many think a cashless society will be a slow creep, and will ultimately phase itself in simply by virtue of the volume of electronic transactions that gradually make cash less available. It’s difficult to see this tide turning soon cash may no longer be king, but plastic.
To find out how more about international trade and covering Foreign Exchange exposure visit: www.forexgroup.com.au.