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The future of cash: Is it going away?

One of the most important questions facing retailers today — from regional grocery stores to national franchises — pertains to cash:

● Will cash use remain a common payment option among their customers, or will it decline noticeably in the coming years (or even go away altogether)?

Despite the variety of currency alternatives popping up left and right, cash is not set to vanish, and you owe it to yourself to improve your company's cash-handling performance.

Pondering cash's future

Cash has been king at retailers for decades now. For people to be discussing whether a cash-free future is on the horizon, the alternatives must have become more common in recent years.

Payment cards alone aren't enough to bring this discussion about, because those have existed side-by-side with cash for decades. The fact that credit and debit cards have been joined by an ecosystem of smartphone applications and other tech-based solutions has caused merchants to ponder whether it makes sense to decrease cash's role.

According to the Financial Times, the current prominence of alternative payment methods differs widely from one country to another.

In Europe, nearly 80 percent of sales are still made with physical money. There appears to be no risk of cash vanishing from use overnight. Look at Sweden, however, and you can see why some economists are envisioning a cashless world: only 19 percent of transactions in Swedish stores are cash-based, and the country could potentially go fully electronic by 2030.

Sometimes, tech companies and app developers increase the use of alternative payment methods. Financial Times pointed to China as a market where new payment options are catching on among the young. But does more use of apps necessarily spell the end for folding money?

The same Financial Times article noted that surges in digital payments don't usually lead to less currency in circulation. Indeed, the U.S. has pumped up its amount of cash in circulation despite the rise of electronic payments.

Committing to cash payments

Money Under 30 pointed out several positive factors to keep cash in circulation and continue using this as one of the prominent payment types.

For example, small purchases can be much more comfortable to make with physical money than an electronic method. If your business mainly sells less expensive items, you may find consumers are much more likely to hand over a $5 or $10 bill than use a card or app.

Futuristic payment methods raise the spectre of charges or fees. People may feel there is a degree of uncertainty associated with using a phone app to make a simple purchase at the grocery or convenience store, whereas paying with some bills is extremely straightforward.

Using a card or app means leaving a digital paper trail, and may simply feel less secure and convenient than making a cash payment. If you want to make the shopping experience comfortable for your everyday shoppers, don't turn them down when they offer to pay with bills and coins.

Becoming a more effective cash handler

Entirely cashless business models aren’t likely in the near future — which means your business should have the right tools to confidently and conveniently handle and protect your cash.

Semacon cash counters and currency discriminators are the perfect behind-the-scenes additions for stores that take cash. At Superior Press, we not only provide these high-quality tools, we also offer ample support to keep them in peak operating condition for your business.

Contact us today to learn which Semacon product is best for your retail business.

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