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How I might love digital money…

To stand a chance, digital payment must be anonymous, unrestricted and clear.

Sep. 27, 2019|Bernhard Kauer
opinionbernhard

Past: Fascination

As a child I hoarded ‘pfennigs’ (former German currency) and collected coins. Not the valuable pieces made of gold and silver that can be found in museums, but rather the beautiful and interesting ones. Actually all that could tell a story.

I am still astonished at unknown bank notes. I like those labelled with millions and billions best, with which you could not buy anything anymore yet within a short period of time.

Present: Cash Fan

Nowadays I am a cash fan. I feel uneasy when I do not have enough money in my pockets to fill up the tank and for my weekly groceries. After all you never know if you get money in time.

This is what happened to me at the end of a multi-day bike trip. I entered the wrong PIN three times. Consequently, my card was blocked. Of course it was Friday evening. I could not get hold of anybody at the bank who could have reset the card’s error counter. Fortunately, I could retrieve just one bank note from the depth of my backpack then to find my way back home.

Whenever possible, I pay with bank notes and coins. But what happens if the machine absolutely does not accept the note, but you want to catch the train by all means? Then I also take out my card. I am glad that this does not happen very often. Last year exactly twice. Still it was a bit of a peeve.

But what is it like on the internet? When I still used to work a lot from home, I could order by cash on delivery every now and then. Then you sometimes gave the postmen a handful of change, as they primarily wanted the exact amount of money. Meanwhile I spend more time on the road and thus I pay almost everything by credit card on the internet. Unavoidably, in the absence of a better alternative.

Future: Digital

In the future we will pay everything digitally. In the end, the cost reduction due to digitalization will be the decisive factor leading to the phase-out of cash. To save money, there will be fewer and fewer ATMs that in return will become more and more expensive. Thus, the costs induced by cash become higher and higher. In the end, you will have to search for shops where you can still pay with bank notes. Then, at the latest, cash is so inconvenient only very few people will keep on using it.

To date three aspects are still lacking in order for me to switch to a digital payment solution:

  1. The overview of the amount available. Up to date and checkable anytime - and not as it is the case nowadays, that a card payment is not booked until a few days later.

  2. The anonymity with respect to the sellers. I don’t want them to create profiles based on my payment data, be it for personalized ads or to make money by selling on my data. I don’t want to lose my liberty of buying what I want.

  3. The payment solution must be applicable without restriction. If I can’t use it in the majority of cases, it is simply not worthwhile switching to.

Provided that these three aspects are given, I myself will use digital money in everyday life. Hence I could finally retire my wallet and add the coins as the last ones of their kind to my collection.

translated by Susanne on Feb. 7, 2020
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