Just this week, Visa has escalated its “war on cash” by offering restaurants up to $10,000 for ceasing to accept cash payments.
As a credit card company that facilitates electronic payments between customers and banks, Visa’s operation have long been in direct competition to cash, hence Visa’s opening salvo. But this assault on cash is also an assault against the privacy and freedom of consumers who may have a preference to engage in transactions not requiring direct bank mediation.
Visa is using “efficiency” and business benefits as incentives, masking the implicit motivation of government and banks to gain more control over people’s money.
Visa will announce plans to reward dollars to approximately 50 food and restaurant vendors for agreeing to cease acceptance of cash payments. To sweeten the deal, Visa has also offered to upgrade vendors’ checkout terminals so that customers can pay via mobile apps, in addition to helping the vendors with a portion of their marketing costs. For restaurants that decide to participate in this program, their customers will be forced to pay via debit card, credit card, or mobile app.
Should a “movement” of this type take place across entire sectors and industries, not only will consumers be forced to keep their money in banks--where their funds are vulnerable to economic downturns--but they will also be stuck with the US Dollar, already a strained currency vulnerable to collapse, and subject to the monopolistic whims of government and banks.
The trend toward a “cashless society” is accelerating, and some of the biggest firms are behind it.
Nilson Report data has shown that approximately 30% of all personal spending in the US retail sector is done in cash. As the war on cash escalates, that figure may shrink dramatically.
Currently, a few of the largest US-based businesses have decided to contribute to this trend. Facebook added a peer-to-peer payment option to its Messenger service; Amazon’s physical stores only accept mobile payments and credit cards; and of course, Apple is upgrading its ApplePay systems.
It almost seems as if the US is aiming toward what Sweden has already accomplished: a cashless society in which more than 50% of the banks no longer even store cash in their vaults! The abolishment of the gold standard--as a physical commodity preventing or limiting the creation of un-backed “cash” and the inflationary risk resulting from such a creation--serves as an already risky experiment. But to get rid of “cash” itself, while forcing consumers to operate within the confines of a government-monopolized banking system, such a move transforms monetary risk into financial subjugation.
To remind you of what can happen in a cashless society (we covered these points and more in a previous article) here are a few things to consider:
- Governments will have easier access to your personal transaction records.
- In times of financial crisis, banks may be pre-authorized to activate a “bail-in” plan, effectively confiscating your deposited funds.
- As a “saver,” you will not have the means to withstand financial catastrophes such as extreme inflation or deflation.
On the positive side, businesses in tune with consumers’ desires for transactional privacy and freedom will use the cashless trend as a competitive ground for either continuing to offer cash as a payment option or to offer cryptocurrency payments, such as bitcoin. Although neither option includes precious metals, the “silver lining” for both metals comes into play when the financial system collapses and dollar value plummets--both metals will serve as robust stores of wealth and value; a compelling reason to buy precious metals.
By virtue of its purpose, constitution, or just mere function, Visa is necessarily vulnerable to any financial crisis that may befall the monetary system. For businesses that adhere to Visa’s program or model, they too will follow the herd that unwittingly marches off the cliff.
Will the majority of consumers do the same, relinquishing control over their own money in exchange for the comforts of transactional convenience--a cozy bondage? Only time will tell.
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