Cue the sinister music

“Amy” in Ball’s State’s “Notes from the Digital Future” blog (published by MediaPost) writes of something that will fuel both the conspiracy crowd and fundamentalist Christians — the movement to a cashless society. She notes that Apple is no longer accepting cash for sales of iPhones (to better track sales) and notes that “where the risk of product alteration and hacking is high, many companies selling cutting edge and technologically advanced products may follow suit and decide to stop accepting cash payments.”

“Unlike cash sales,” she notes, “debit and credit card sales provide a quick and easy way to track buyers.” But it is her tying this to another trend that makes her observation intriguing:

A shift towards a plastic currency can also be seen in the new line of Visa commercials telling consumers that ‘life takes faster money, life takes Visa.’ The commercials depict a crowded and bustling but smooth sailing store or event, which grows disorderly when a customer decides to write a check or pay for a product with cash. In this sense, Visa is telling consumers that the quick and easy way to pay for products is by using a Visa check card. Consumers choosing to pay with check or cash will be ridiculed for slowing purchasing pace and not conforming to the use of plastic currency.

This “ridicule” is a powerful peer pressure argument to get with the program, and I agree with Amy that we’re definitely headed in a cashless direction.

Conspiracy theorists will find resolve for their beliefs that big business and government are aligning to foist Big Brother on the world, while Biblical literalists will see this as the mark of the beast from Revelations 13:

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Cue the sinister music and the evil sound effects. The movie is just around the corner.

Seriously, though, there are enormous privacy, legal and other issues that our culture will have to wrestle to the ground in order for a cashless society to actually materialize, and maybe this is the time to be asking the tough questions. Clearly, Visa and Apple have their reasons, but who speaks for everybody else?

Thanks, Amy. Keep up the good work.


  1. Looks like is taken.

  2. Whatever happened to “Legal tender for all debts, public and private”?

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