Everything Investors Need to Know About the War on Cash
By Matthew Cochrane
Physical forms of currency — cash and personal checks — are losing favor among global consumers to alternative forms of payment, including debit and credit cards, digital wallets, mobile commerce platforms, and, in some circles, even cryptocurrencies. Online banking applications and automatic bill-pay options are making writing checks, using cash for high-cost transactions, and other traditional financial services less and less attractive. While cash is far from nearing extinction and, surprisingly, is more robust in some places than one might first think, the overall trend seems almost undeniable when one considers the paradigm-shifting trends such as e-commerce and mobile payments at play.
So why is this happening? Will cashless societies exist in the future? How can investors take advantage of this trend? Which stocks stand to benefit from the war on cash? Will any companies become casualties?
We’ll get to all of that, but first, let’s look at where cash is today. Despite all the hype and a much-weakened hierarchical position in the global economy, cash remains a long way from being dead.
Photo courtesy of ITU Pictures.