By Nivine Richie
There aren't many transactions today that require cash. You can eat, travel, take a cab or a shared ride, pay your bills, buy a snack, without ever pulling out a single dollar bill.
The U.S. government didn’t issue banknotes until 1862. Before that, people paid for goods and services with a mix of government-minted coins and currencies issued by private banks. And now cash is on its way out, accounting for just 40% of payments in 2012 and dropping. There are many benefits to removing cash from the economy, such as eliminating black markets and allowing more easy monetary policy. But there are also concerns when every single transaction can be monitored, examined, or manipulated. Regardless of where you fall, though, one thing is clear: As online shopping becomes yet more prevalent, and prepaid credit cards take the place of more and more low-value cash transactions, cash is well on its way to becoming obsolete.
What are the benefits and risks associated with a cashless society?
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