A proposal to require Israelis to conduct all their financial transactions electronically isn’t pie in the sky – in fact, it’s almost inevitable
Not credit cards – but credit accounts on their cellphones. New payment systems using technologies like NFC (near field communications) are already allowing shoppers to make even small purchases using ubiquitous smartphones and other portable devices, bringing the dream – or nightmare, depending on your point of view – of a cashless society within reach.
But media have been quoting critics, of which there are many, who say the change will have a dramatically negative impact on the economy. They predict that rather than ditch cash altogether, Israelis will simply switch to foreign currency in order to conduct transactions, and that the move will impoverish small business-owners, artisans, and self-employed Israelis while enriching the banks, which will be able to collect a plethora of new fees. Another argument contends that large segments of the population – ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, the elderly, and others – who are largely “unbanked” or who, for cultural or other reasons, prefer to use cash, will be frozen out of this new economy. And a third argument has the government seeking to expand its reach, searching for new ways to control the body politic.
But regardless of government edict, chances are that Israelis will in the future be using far less cash than they do now. New cellphone technologies are coming onto the market that will make it easier to use devices to buy anything – even small items, like gum from the candy store – with the payment collected electronically not directly from a bank account, but tacked onto a user’s cellphone bill.
Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/government-dream-of-a-cashless-society-already-a-reality/#ixzz2qMyZH7cR
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