The way we use money in 2019 has changed drastically since before 2000. Cash is no longer common, and checks are a thing of the past. Take a look at some of the new ways people are embracing to pay for goods, services, or just move money around the globe.
Mobile Payment Apps
Mobile payment apps are tied directly to our smartphones, which most people have on them all the time. These apps create a cashless economy by allowing funds to be transferred from person to person. Some apps even feature useful features like tip calculation and bill splits.
Examples of apps in this category include Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and the Cash app. The only down side to these mobile payment apps are the fees associated. While sending and receiving cash is usually free, credit card purchases incur a 3% fee.
These apps provide convenience for users and are catching on in other ways. Some services like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay support payments through wearable devices. Tapping a button on your watch and swiping is a novel feature for most Americans.
Western Union App
Western Union has for decades been the best way to send money across the country in a hurry. That is still true today with the Western Union app. The app allows users to send, receive, and track payments. Money can be sent using a debit card, credit card, bank account, or a wire transfer.
The service can also be used to pay bills that can’t be paid online. Users can track their payment and see when it has arrived. That takes the headache out of making sure a bill has been paid when they don’t take cash or card.
Currency exchange rates are readily available, and users can scan their debit and credit cards for quick set up. The app even handles repeat transfers so you can set up recurring transactions. Overall, the app simplifies the process of sending money to over 200 countries.
Some restaurants are embracing the cashless economy and refusing to serve customers with cash services. Many prefer to accept the safety that comes with paying with a credit or debit card.
Fine dining establishments have operated this way for years, taking credit card numbers along with reservations. But it’s catching on in mainstream America now, too.
Going cashless cuts out a lot of overhead and potential for fraud on the business side of things. It also stops employees needing to make deposits or run to get change from the bank. Ultimately, cashless restaurants reduce labor costs and the potential to lose money at the till.
Surveys conducted in America have shown that only about 11% prefer to pay at a restaurant in cash. Most people trend toward using a credit card for rewards, or a debit card tied to their checking account.
That percent was even smaller in the 25 to 34 age bracket, where only 5% of people paid with cash. 99% of people with a household income greater than $100K use credit or debit to pay for their transactions.
Perhaps the most interesting new way we are changing our money habits is through embracing cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the most popular and well-known cryptocurrency, but several altcoins exist.
These currencies rely on a complex network of computer nodes and algorithms writing transactions to a ledger that is available publicly. This ledger is called a blockchain, and it’s a way to keep transactions honest in the digital age. The blockchain acts as a digital receipt to prevent double transactions from happening.
Cryptocurrencies are an entirely digital form of currency. They are generated by crypto miners who perform complex mathematical problems on their powerful computers. They are paid in bitcoin or another altcoin, depending on the cryptocurrency being mined.
Transactions on the blockchain cannot be confirmed without the work miners do. Bitcoin miners influence the price of the cryptocurrency through boom and bust cycles. The high volatility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies makes it a risky investment.
Money Is Changing
The way Americans use money is changing because our financial institutions are changing. Bitcoin and blockchain technology is dramatically speeding up global financial transactions. What used to take several days to finalize can now be sent in a matter of seconds with fewer fees.
While this may sound new and futuristic to most Americans, payment methods in Asia are light years ahead. Even some rural areas in China are cashless economies. Most transactions are handled using a smartphone and QR codes.