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French Town Tests Cashless Society

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the didn't-know-you-could-drive-a-city dept.

302

SamiousHaze writes to mention a Silicon.com article about an attempt in a French tourist town, Caen, to do away with cash in some locales. From the article: "Among [the locations in the trial] is an underground car park; the town hall; a bus stop which can transmit timetable information; a cinema poster which downloads video trailers to users' mobiles; a local supermarket, where people can pay for their groceries with a mobile phone, and a tourist information sign outside the historic Abbaye des Hommes. By touching the mobile against the 'Flytag' logo at each of these locations, users can pay for services or receive information straight to their phone."

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Cue the French jokes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197883)

Cue the French jokes about why you don't need money when you are retreating or surrendering...

Re:Cue the French jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197898)

Look mom , no hands.

You mean Caen, don't you? (5, Informative)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197902)

Normandy isn't a town - it's a whole region. I suspect many Normans regard it as a country in it's own right (bloody Vikings). Specifically, the article mentions Caen (which is a city).

Now, Caen is an interesting place. It's hardly a sleepy backwater - it's the busiest urban centre in the area. (And the traffic is awful). It's actually a very modern, thriving city that was rebuilt after being almost completely destroyed in the aftermath of the D-Day invasion in 1944 (even most of the pretty bits are actually restoration of the original buldings). I'd suggest that of all the places I've been to in France, Caen is certainly one of the top runners when it comes to modernity.

Also, the French are pretty keen on their plastic and were early adopters of payment cards and related technologies. So.. it'll be interesting to see how this experiment pans out because it's being carried out in more-or-less ideal conditions.

Re:You mean Caen, don't you? (0)

Nesetril (969734) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197964)

the drug dealers accept plastic too? can they put you on a payment plan, like? or is it "I regret to inform you, sir, your credit has been reached and breached quite some time ago... ahh, hard currency, that will do nicely." (Trainspotting)

Re:You mean Caen, don't you? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198117)

Normandy isn't a town
not in France, however it is a village in Surrey [google.co.uk] , England

Damn (5, Insightful)

taskforce (866056) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197903)

I read the headline thinking it might be some kind of experiment into anti-materialist anarchism... then up on reading the summary I realised that by "cashless" they meant "physically cashless, so you don't have anything that can be traded for goods and services if they decide to pull your card".

Somewhat different I must say.

Re:Damn (0, Redundant)

mwilli (725214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197993)

Even in the Star Trek universe they have latinum.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198245)

Definitely not that same. One of the experiments has an actual chance of working.

Re:Damn (3, Insightful)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198363)

physically cashless, so you don't have anything that can be traded for goods and services if they decide to pull your card

Sounds more and more like a real-life version of PayPal, right? The scary part is when they arbitrarily (and unilaterally) decide to freeze your funds and make it next to impossible to get them back, even if you did nothing wrong.

There will always be some form of cash (5, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197916)

Even if it isn't the government-sancationed variety. I don't know of too many people that would willingly create a transaction record of payments for various of their habits.

Loss of privacy (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197919)

Talk about opportunities for loss of privacy. In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions. Everything would be accounted for. Maybe it is one of those things where if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about, but still. I'd like to keep the option of paying my dealer^H^H^H^H^Hbookie^H^H^H^H^Hfriend without some kind of electronic trail.

-matthew

Re:Loss of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197972)

Actually this might even turn out to be a good thing (tm).
At the least no more tax escaping.
Or am i just a bit naive?

Re:Loss of privacy (4, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198073)

I would say very naive. most tax-evasion is done by the extremely wealthy and by mega-corporations, who fully disclose all their holdings, then avoid paying taxes on as much of it as possible through completely legal tax loopholes that their lobbyist bought for them.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198157)

You sir, are under the mistaken impression that if tax fraud were eliminated today any of the extra money would make its way to the People

Re:Loss of privacy (0, Redundant)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197990)

That was exactly my first impression from this post.

Re:Loss of privacy (2, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198015)

In a truely cashless society, there would be no way to have private transactions.

Except for digicash [acm.org] . (Sadly, the company folded.. No government or corporation really stands to benefit from secure anonymous electronic cash, just private citizens/consumers.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198024)

This would only become a problem when they start banning cash transactions. Maybe somebody cried wolf when credit cards are introduced, but most people are okay with it.

Furthermore, if you will, your dollar bills have unique serial numbers attached to it, so whoever spends the dollar bill can be traced. If you want to be paranoid, you could use gold transactions. However, gold can be traced by its mineral content to the mine. Depending on your purpose, this may still be a problem.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198095)

your dollar bills have unique serial numbers attached to it, so whoever spends the dollar bill can be traced.

I am a street performer. I live by the dollar bill. The dollar bills can be traced from bank to bank, but there is no way to trace the route from bank to bank through my pocket (and those dollar bills have been legally defined by the Supremes as gifts and donations).

And I like it that way.

KFG

Re:Loss of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198256)

What kind of performing do you do?

Re:Loss of privacy (2, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198347)

Sure they can. The video cameras taping everything you do pick up the serial numbers as the bills are being handed to you. However, the technology isn't perfect; I find that the glare coming off a well-constructed tin-foil hat creates lens flares on the cameras that can obfuscate the serial numbers.

Please pardon my stupidity... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198132)

Furthermore, if you will, your dollar bills have unique serial numbers attached to it, so whoever spends the dollar bill can be traced.

How, exactly, could this be accomplished? The teller doesn't keep a record of who got what bills, nor do the grocers, nor my barber, nor my bartenders.

Now, when they imbed RFID chips in all your money that would be easy to understand, but please enlighten me as to how serial numbers can be used to track you?

Re:Loss of privacy (0)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198153)

Dude, you're a little paranoid.

Besides, they can already read my thoughts from space, so it really doesn't matter what can and cannot be traced. Now where's my tinfoil hat...

Re:Loss of privacy (5, Interesting)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198038)

This would definitely create a niche for banks which specialise in short-lifespan Swiss-style anonymous accounts that are easy to create and allow easy transfer of control (by giving a card or something). Unfortunately that anonymity could be legislated out of existance by government regulation for security purposes, so you'd need the banks to be in nations with a good track record of allowing privacy.

Re:Loss of privacy (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198082)

Do you actually use cash in this day and age? About the only time I use cash is when I am buying a sandwich or a coffee at lunch time, or when I am getting a drink in a pub and cards charge too much per transaction for it to be available (why credit cards have a minimum commission I will never understand. It surely can't cost them much to move a small number from one location to another, and those 50p transactions add up to large numbers very quickly).

For private payments I always use direct bank transfers; that way I have a record that I've already paid, and it's less effort since I can do it anywhere I have an Internet connection, while cash requires me to find a cash machine.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198166)

AFAIK, the minimums aren't imposed by the credit card companies, but by the establishments. The bar has to pay the credit card company a price per transaction for each transaction. So if they're paying $.50 to run your card, they want to make sure that you're gonna do a fair amount of business with them and at the same time cut their costs to the credit card company. But that's just from memory- no link, no proof.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198179)

You are the type of person I have the resist the urge to stab in the back of the head with a spoon every time I'm trying to get my lunch and everyone ahead of me is taking 2-3 minutes apiece for credit card verification to buy a bag of cheetos.

Re:Loss of privacy (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198371)

Where do you shop that a credit/debit card takes 2+ minutes?

I live in a fairly small town and it takes about 10 seconds. Much faster then waiting for you to find those last 3 pennies.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

LordOfTheNoobs (949080) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198266)

why credit cards have a minimum commission I will never understand
... those 50p transactions add up to large numbers very quickly

I believe you've answered your own question. There's no market for stopping the practice either as if anyone were to try to capture market share by attacking minimum fees, everyone would drop them, and the new company would be crushed anyway. So there's no point in starting a company to get rid of the process, and none of the providers want to stop lining their profits. Hence, status quo.

Re:Loss of privacy (5, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198295)

Do you actually use cash in this day and age?

All the time. My minimum for credit card purchases is $20, and I never write checks unless I have to.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

peterpi (585134) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198315)

I've taken to using cash for everything again (or cheques for things you post). It's a nice feeling; everything is simple again. There's no signing, no PIN-ing, no getting your card confused with your fellow diners' at the restaurant.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198343)

I use cash everywhere I can to avoid identity theft and profiling. Every place you leave a receipt with your credit card number on it is an opportunity for someone to steal money from you.

I also am adverse to data mining. I hate push advertising and don't want to be bothered by people who think that I might purchase some crap I don't want based on something else I purchased.

All in all, using cash is about freedom and security to me, and I think it's worth the inconvenience.

Re:Loss of privacy (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198163)

You could always trade your dealer in other things that aren't cash, and then you're still not being traced.

The French Surrender Again!! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197929)

what a shock. this time to plastic.

Convenient and dangerous (2, Interesting)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197930)

...for now there will exist databases which will show exactly where you were, when and what you were doing.

The State will be able to access these databases when it feels compelled to do so.

We were afraid of the State, 1984-like, maintaining huge databases, monitoring us all.

Instead, we have private companies maintaining these databases and the State accesses them when it needs to.

Either way, we have sacrificed true freedom for convenience - and we have done so without ANY meaningful public discourse upon the matter.

There was in fact no choice made; this situation has simply come upon us, through market forces.

We - all of us, States, citizens, one and all - are not in control of the direction (I can't say decisions, because deliberate choice is not occuring) our society is taking.

This is deeply worrying and ultimate stems from television, which is responsible for the lack of meaningful public discourse in our society.

Re:Convenient and dangerous (0, Troll)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198012)

yes we fucking know already you nonce, everybody knows this. This is what happens, oh boo hoo hoo, you're not fucking helping the situation, you're just stating it for other geeks like yourself to come jackoff of the worries in some sick manner. If you're worried, then DO something about it, i don't fucking care if you're worried. I have my own worries, but what the fuck are you doing to improve the situation?.. you're basically shitting your pants and going online 24/7 to say a load of shit words to scare other people. Well i don't know about you, but i'm most productive when i fear nothing, therefore your words are of no use to anyone who want to improve the fucking situation. Just get real, don't post shit like this in every bit of news, because you sound like a pathetic twat. How about you go visit iraq, the american troops just love shooting random innocent people in the streets for fun, you think it is worrying now or will be?.. go fucking live there for a day and you tell me if this place is worrying or whats to come.

Mod parent up (1)

GuloGulo (959533) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198077)

He's a troll, but he's right.

Do you use a credit card/checking/Debit card? (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198125)

Instead, we have private companies maintaining these databases and the State accesses them when it needs to.

Either way, we have sacrificed true freedom for convenience - and we have done so without ANY meaningful public discourse upon the matter.


If so then this is a hypocritcal statement. All three of those record the transactions that you preform with them.

Re:Do you use a credit card/checking/Debit card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198275)

The right tool for the job...

I use the debit cards when I don't care, but not when I needed to buy my little sister a used car because she was graduating and moving out of state to a place where my mother couldn't drive her to class anymore, and my parents were too broke to buy one themselves.

But, oh, I'm not her father, so I can't just buy a car for her, I'd have to buy it for me, and then give it to her, with all the tax bullshit and general registration bureaucracy that entails.

So I withdrew $500 from the bank using my ATM card, and gave it to my sister and she bought an old used car for herself, without taxing my money over and over again like the government loves to do. I'm sure someone at the government probably put me into a list of drug suspects for withdrawing several hundred dollars at once, but what can you do about government bullshit?

Then answer a quesiton for me (0, Troll)

GuloGulo (959533) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198264)

What have YOU done to imrpove meaningful public discourse? When was the last time YOU organized a discussion group, scheduled a protest, created a PAC, or did ANYTHING other than whine about it?

You're the worst kind of politico. You've got the spiel down, and in dishing it out, you get people so riled up, they fail to notice all you've done is actually bitch and moan while accomplishing exactly ZERO.

I'll never understand why all you slashtards fall for this shit. For a group of people who are constantly suspicious of everything, guys like the parent manipulate you very easily.

Mod me down, I deserve it. but that's just because I'm tired of the same chicken little sky is falling garbage getting modded straight up, with no regard to the fact that's it's been said a THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE.

THERE'S NOTHING INSIGHTFUL OR INTERESTING ABOUT REPEATING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER.

Re:Convenient and dangerous (0, Troll)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198306)

Aw there it is! First mention of 1984 for this topic. Yay paranoia!

There is no Cabal [wikipedia.org]

Maybe I'll create Braino's Law: As a Slashdot discussion grows longer, the probability of the mention of 1984 approaches one.

Do everyone a favor and: SHUT THE FUCK UP

Why Cellphone? (2, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197931)

I don't want to get a 700+ phonebill each month for my expenses, I would never consider my cellphone Provider as my banking service. (because they en effect become your "banking service" if you only use your cellphone)

Proton [vub.ac.be] has been around for a decade in Belgium already with the same philosophy. It's very convenient, and you can almost use it everywhere and where I can't I use my Credit Card.

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

SteveAstro (209000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197969)

Mobile costs in Europe are considerably lower than the US rates, from what I have been able to gather. Sure, the networks screw you for international roaming - but less than the US, but, for example, I get 360 minutes a month free to any network, fixed or mobile, for about 50 USD.

Steve

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198049)

U.S. Cellular gives 900 anytime minutes, no roaming regardless of network in the service area (three or four states) , unlimited nights and weekends from 7 pm on, unlimited incoming calls (not charged to your minutes), free mobile to mobile minutes (to other USC customers) for 66.00 US including all taxes.

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

SteveAstro (209000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198136)

Thats a damned good deal.

Steve

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198269)

got a free phone with it too.

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

SteveAstro (209000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198309)

Yes, I got a Treo 650 for free.

Steve

Re:Why Cellphone? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198111)

I used to pay 0.25EUR/minute and 0.12EUR/SMS here in Belgium,
until I went to an "unlimited" plan where you pay a fixed 25EUR for "unlimited" communication within the same provider. You get about 30hours a week calltime and unlimited SMSes.

Since I've got my gf a subscription as well we're paying 700%-800% less each month.

But I still don't like the idea my cellphone provider just billing me for every transaction I do. I have the bank for that.

WTF? Many US soldiers died at Normandy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197932)

They are rolling in their graves lying in such cowardly soil that is France

Re:WTF? Many US soldiers died at Normandy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198004)

"Oh no! we're under attack! OMG PLANES!" *cry* *mass hysteria*
But when you see Iraquees (among children) being blown up by US forces:
"ha! SUCKERS! DIE!!!", safe at home.

Who's the coward?
I think you are mr. Anonymous Coward.

Re:WTF? Many US soldiers died at Normandy (0, Troll)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198061)

I bet a lot more french soldiers died in france then US ones. Just a guess though.

Re:WTF? Many US soldiers died at Normandy (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198086)

Shot in the back running away no doubt

Re:WTF? Many US soldiers died at Normandy (0, Flamebait)

theolein (316044) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198119)

Hey, if that's the way you feel, fucker, just dig 'em up and take 'em home. You can also shove 'em up your arse, if you feel like it. Sideways.

Cashless society is bad... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197936)

What are the thieves are going to do if the unsuspecting tourists are cashlesss? Inspector Clouseau will have to find a new job! Maybe run for president to save the Republic from itself?!

What about (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197939)

strip clubs? Where do you swipe your debit card?

Re:What about (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198090)

ouch...

Just think of how ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198151)

... the card will smell afterwards!

Re:What about (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198154)

strip clubs? Where do you swipe your debit card?

Mod parent +1 insightful. Most of the other posters completely ignored the problem of strippers stealing your credit cards.

Re:What about (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198210)

you just have to buy "coupons", which the "dancer" will redeem later. yes, I got the joke, but Ron White's 'coupons' bit popped into my head.

Re:What about (1)

MyIS (834233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198287)

Between the buttcheeks?

Re:What about (1)

shroompicker (703230) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198333)

Swipe your card, get paper tokens.

I was born and raised in Las Vegas. There's a reason why you change cash to chips: They look more playfull and people let 'em go faster.

I had a friend that went nuts at the ATM the first time he went to a strip club. Going to a machine to get money doesn't hold a guy back, heck it might even encourage some kind of primal hunt-stuff-for-the-woman behavior.

Poker (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197948)

This is great! Now that we can't use money in poker, we have to start betting other things >=D

Like Poker Chips? (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198171)

You never know, it might just catch on!

Already cashless societies (2, Interesting)

s0l3d4d (932623) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197953)

200 people in a village in France test this "cashless society" - no cash itself, just pay with a mobile phone.

At least 250 million people in US, Europe, Asia, use widely credit cards, and don't need to use cash.

Probably giving a tip with a mobile phone is not essentially different from giving a tip with a credit card either...

Yeah but what happens in case of a blackout? (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197974)

Interesting irony. Debit and credit cards were used to stop burglars from taking your cash, but right now the electronic frauds are becoming popular so it's MUCH EASIER for someone to steal your identity (and then buy goods using your money) than to steal your cash.

Now suppose a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, who knows) took out the power lines. How will you buy the goods you need?

Re:Yeah but what happens in case of a blackout? (2, Funny)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198253)

Now suppose a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, who knows) took out the power lines. How will you buy the goods you need?
You are obviously new to this whole disaster thing. The solution is simple: With a brick and a mob!

Re:Yeah but what happens in case of a blackout? (4, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198265)

Oddly enough, if the power is out, having cash may, or may not, help you.

I was in New York City during the blackout a few years ago. I had cash, on the other hand there wasn't much you could do with it.
Some restaurants were open, but most were closed (no workers, no lights, no ability to ring up registers).
The major stores (supermarkets and the like) were closed. No registers, no lights, no refridgeration.

Good luck finding a taxi ... the streets were crowded and the traffic lights were out as well, but I suppose you could go somewhere by taxi.

All in all, the only store I know of that was open and doing business was the local hardware store, and the only thing they were selling was batteries.

Face it, our society has already become so dependant on electricity that in a lot of cases, if the power is out, having money may not help, there might be bigger issues to worry about.

Re:Yeah but what happens in case of a blackout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198351)

Ever seen a credit card imprint machine? That's right -- you can do offline transactions and post them later. In fact, this was the norm before fraud became rampant.

It'll fail (2, Insightful)

igb (28052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197978)

Just like Mondex failed. ian

Re:It'll fail (2, Insightful)

doofusclam (528746) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198069)

Just like Mondex failed.


Probably. I lived in Swindon (UK) when they were trialing it ~10 years ago and it was crap, though to be fair this was mainly down to the implementation. It took 20 seconds for it to take your money on the bus, as you can imagine with loads of passengers waiting it was a bit irritating.

I only ever used it in anger when Mackenzies Bar were offering 1/2 price drinks if you paid with Mondex...

Re:It'll fail (1)

matt_wilts (249194) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198130)

I live in Swindon too and decided not to get a card when it transpired that they were planning to charge for the use. Not a great amount, sure, but...

Hmm. Let me think? Charge me to spend my own money? I should coco.

NO NOT CASHLESS! (1)

Gno (970625) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197979)

I stay up at night thinking of theese things. I fear that one day my Grandma and her penny jar must go! If the public has no tangible money to steal then how will my uncle Vern make a living? If you cannot put bills on the table then how will I cheat at poker and win? THINK OF THEESE THINGS O CRUEL SOCIATY

Euros Merci (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197991)

Great, now how is this guy [yimg.com] going to afford his lifestyle?

But will deodorant be available?!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15197996)

Cash...Cashless...it's all irrelevant. The real question is if this will help raise the demand for deodorant?

silly me (4, Interesting)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#15197999)

When I read the article, I immediately thought that the town was going back to a bartering system.

Panhandling (3, Insightful)

maddash1946 (969486) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198001)

I wonder what this will do to the beggar population in that town. I've notice that I almost never carry cash anymore and as such I have no money to give to beggars.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198010)

Cue the obligatory "Mark of the Beast" fire and brimstone.

Overheard in the French town of Caen... (5, Funny)

slcdb (317433) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198036)

"Aw crap! My wallet's battery just died."

Wonder how this would be received in Germany (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198037)

It's interesting to see how different attitudes regarding the use of cash can vary between countries. Here in Germany the only thing I use a credit card for is buying stuff from die bahn and the rare order on amazon.de. Germans are the country that insisted on a 500 euro bill(though I have yet to see one). Meanwhile in Britain, while they aren't as wild about credit cards as Americans, a lot more places seem to accept plastic compared to Germany. What exactly causes the difference in attitudes towards cash?

Sounds like a 'good idea' but it's not (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198041)

The legal tender system was created in order to unify a medium of exchange for goods and services. The money moving businesses were an unfortunate growth from that invention. (Money moving such as savings, checking, loaning and related services) But if monetary value exists without portable and anonymous tokens, then you really have to TRUST the value managers and the systems it operates from. If a government (assuming the controlling entity is official government... if it's not, it soon will be) or a ranking official of a government decided someone was to be harmed for some reason, it would then be [more] trivial to strip a person of their assets and means of survival. Forget about cancelling credit/debit cards and freezing bank accounts, once they strip you of cash, there is no longer any way out.

That makes people EXTREMELY vulnerable to abuse by the system. (And if I hear "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be afraid" crap again, I'm going to throw a chair! "wrong" is always defined by whoever is in power and always a subjective notion. It's "wrong" to kill innocent people... unless your president orders it... hrm...)

The cashless system will work as nicely as expected, but the tests will not include the abuse that can and will happen.

You've never tried living with cash only (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198213)

Sure, you can do the small things but if you try to live without credit cards, let alone a bank account you'll find it tough. Does your ISP accept cash?

Re:You've never tried living with cash only (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198327)

I swear that some where it is written that the notes in my pocket shall be acceptable for any debt public or private. It definitely says that it is legal tender. (From Australia ...)

Re:Sounds like a 'good idea' but it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198344)

The legal tender system was created in order to unify a medium of exchange for goods and services. The money moving businesses were an unfortunate growth from that invention.

You got that exactly backwards. Money was invented as proof of lien, is still issued as such, and only in its standardization and volume did it become a unified medium of exchange.

If a government (assuming the controlling entity is official government... if it's not, it soon will be) or a ranking official of a government decided someone was to be harmed for some reason, it would then be [more] trivial to strip a person of their assets and means of survival. Forget about cancelling credit/debit cards and freezing bank accounts, once they strip you of cash, there is no longer any way out.

Sorry to hear about your paranoia issues. Well, once they come and take all your stuff, you can always grow vegetables in your garden and eat/sell them.

In Hong Kong... (1)

simonjp (970013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198045)

...they already have this sort of idea and have done for a long time. Their travelcards (Octopus cards - very similar to london oyster technology - RFIDS) can be used as "cashless" cash - just wave it to buy stuff and the money you put on it would go down. Its effectively a prepay cashless system - you dont need to watch out for huge bills at the end.

Indeed, closer to home, my old school used to have "smartcards" for paying for lunch without the need to produce cash. Just prepay on it and then empty it...

I guess its an old idea, but being trialled in conjunction with other technologies on a larger scale.

The last time a lot of cashless people in France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198065)

...got together, a bunch of cars were torched. Hopefully, this experiment will go better.

So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198067)

This is nothing new. Where I live, mobile phones have been used as payment for various services for years:

Not to be beaten up by a gang of thugs.
Not to be stabbed by a gang of thugs.
Not to be shot by a gang of thugs.
Not to be dragged behind a car driven by a gang of thugs.
Not to have one's head nailed to things by a gang of thugs.

But we've gone one better than the French, because in our payment model, you can use iPods, watches, and jewels as well as mobile phones to pay for the very same services. Now that's progress!

Re:So what... (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198201)

Not to have one's head nailed to things by a gang of thugs.
Well, when you transgress one of those unwritten laws, it's kind of hard to avoid that. They don't really want to nail your head to the floor but they have to. Maybe if you ask nicely they'll agree to just screwing your pelvis to a cake stand.

Re:So what... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198252)

Where the hell do you live? Biff Tannen's 1985?

Taxation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198133)

Once you go cashless there is a record of every transaction, and the ability to tax every transation automatically. You bum a dollar from your buddy - the government keeps a nickle.

Banks used to keep peoples gold and issue IOUs for it. They'd charge a transaction fee (interest) to get your gold out. People started trading in the IOUs to avoid the penalty of actually getting their gold to buy something. That's where cash came from - the IOUs. So why are we going back to a system where we have to pay the man at every transaction?

Re:Taxation (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198172)

I think debit cards with no id would be a good way to go. You could put it in an ATM, enter your PIN number, and transfer a certain amount to the card. Then you could swipe the card wherever you are, but since it has no ID, there isn't a record of your transaction. This gives you the convience of debit cars without the loss of privacy. Of course, you would lose all of the money on the card if you lost it, but in general, what you gain in privacy, you lose in security, so I don't think it would be too bad. That would be a true cashless experiment.

So much for being egalitarian... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198142)

"By touching the mobile against the 'Flytag' logo at each of these locations, users can pay for services or receive information straight to their phone."

Cashless society for those that can afford cell phones!

Need a state-backed card (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198165)

I mostly welcome all of this, though with the odd privacy concern here and there. However, the one thing I have a problem with is that the card payment and mobile payments systems are privately owned.

In most countries, in fact in all that I can think of, the currency is controlled by the state. If I pay for something using a five pound note, I'm guaranteed that note is acceptable anywhere in the UK. Due to differing debit card systems, rates charged to retailers and just general availability, the same cannot be said of my debit or credit cards. Some places don't take some forms of debit card, others charge extra for using credit cards...it's a mess. A mostly-working one, but if cash is going to disappear then the remaining problems need sorting.

Personally, I would welcome a state-backed debit card. No rates chargeable to the retailer for accepting them, and if you want to operate as a retail operation or bank within that state then it is mandatory that you accept the card. Then control of this is out of private hands and into a publically accountable body. Yes, there are problems with giving the state this information but I believe there are more problems letting the only means of payment be controlled by competeting private institutes.

Cheers,
Ian

Been and done (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198169)

I think it was Swindon, in the UK, that tried the Mondo cashless card over a decade ago. The card actually held the electronic cash, so that absolutely nothing went to or from any kind of central database. This had the massive advantage that it was extremely private. It had better privacy than cash, as there were no serial numbers or denominations involved. The cards used public key encryption and although I believe they never used long keys due to problems in generation, they were quite capable of handling keys equal to the strongest PGP/GnuPG can support today.


To me, this is the kind of electronic cash that should be the future. Total privacy, total anonymity, total freedom to use your own money as and how you like, absolute security against identity theft through reckless banks or merchants, hard limits to card misuse if stolen (and none of it attributable to you), relatively proof against electronic attacks such as keystroke monitors and viruses.


So why aren't these cards in widespread use? Merchants don't like extra card readers if no customers have the cards. Customers don't want cards they can't use. Neither like systems where most faults can be pinned on them and not the vendor. Banks hate systems that keep cash in the hands of consumers, as they make a lot of money speculating on the side (even in countries they're not strictly allowed to, they just do it overseas). Governments hate it because they can't track individuals and freezing accounts has less impact when you can carry a small fortune in your wallet.


The problem, then, is social and not technical. The French experiment uses inferior technology, for the purpose of satisfying some of the social requirements at the cost of placing all parties at greater risk.


(For some reason, humanity has all the attributes commonly associated with lemmings, when it comes to technology and risk. Given the choice of inferior products with greater risk, or superior products with little or no risk, societies always choose the inferior path.)

Budget System (1)

shroompicker (703230) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198198)

One huge disadvantage of using debit or credit cards is loss of control of your finances. Dave Ramsey [daveramsey.com] , is a radio guy trying to convert the whole world from the mortgage / three-car-payment / six-credit-card-payments way of life to living completely debt-free, what he calls financial peace. He likes to say money is 80% behavioral and 20% math, and I've strongly agreed with this even before I'd ever listened to his programs. One of the very first things he advocates in all of his books and courses is, get a budget, spend everying on paper on purpose at the beginning of the month, and pay cash for everything. When you set a realistic budget, then you're both comfortable with the money you're spending in that you don't feel like you're starving, and when the money runs out in your pocket, it's out, so you're in control. No more plasma screen TV's. My whole life, I've always cashed my paycheck or logged my direct-deposit paystub, then gone straight to the ATM to withdraw a healthy sum for the whole week. If I had cash in my pocket for something, I'd get it, if not, I wouldn't. This habit alone has kept me saving money every month, even though I've been a student most of the time from age 18 to 32.

I wouldn't want to just walk through the city and end up with a negative sum in my checking account at the end of the day. If I were to buy into this thing, I would need the ability to declare "wallets". I'd like to open my cell phone, see $132, oh, I have enough for a full tank of gas on Saturday and groceries for the last half of this week, so I can buy this $15 panini sammich. Then I go home and check my home wallet, pay the light, heat, water, garbage bills, and mortgage with that. Then comes my direct deposit, so I refill all my wallets, including the wife's redecorating wallet and my car parts and ammunition wallet.

Oops here goes a buck and another (1, Flamebait)

sundru (709023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198204)

Imagine walking into the town with a RFID payment card and not knowing where your money is being spent.

Walk First block - 2 bucks on toll without being aware of it.

Second block - 5 bucks Automatic withdrawl from a street band playing crappy music. Just bcos ur in range of their payment device.

Third block - 2 bucks Automated payment withdrawl to the bag lady on the sreet.

Oops missed a street - U screwed !! APply for overwithdrawal protection.

Against, but has advantages (1)

Sean0michael (923458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198225)

I could see some benefits to a cashless society. First, you no longer have people hoarding currency here or abroad. The loose coins and change that you have in your car, in your sofa, in your pocket, etc. would all be in an account. Here they could all earn interest. Your money would make more money more efficiently. Given it's probably a trivial amount, but still, better than nothing.

It would also be good for international economics since sending money out of the country would be as easy as emailing. The electronic exchange would just run it through an exchange-rate program and you wouldn't have to worry about having to change physical dollars into physical pesos, euros, yen, or yuan.

On the other hand, people who do use credit cards etc. instead of cash tend not to be so responsible with their spending. America is saving at an all-time low, and part of that is because it is so easy to whip out the plastic and pay, not thinking about how much you have left. I could see this system in France leading to great personal debt.

Also, I'm worried about having all of my cash in electronic form--doesn't it kind of depend on electricity? right now money only depends on the durability of the paper or the metal of the coins. Physical currency will last hundreds of years and in all circumstances. But if the power goes out, or your battery dies, you're out of luck. That could be solved with some kind of universal charger for all cellphones or electronic wallets, but still, the problem is there.

Lastly, I'd be worried about security. Identity theft is huge already. I don't want someone just grabbing my cell phone while I'm making a call and running away with it. How would I report it stolen? I certainly can't call the cell phone company and cancel my plan. And then, how do I get to start spending money again? Do I have to go out and buy a new cell phone? It just seems like it has too much to worry about.

Doh, wrong "cashless" (1)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198298)

I had thought from the headline that this place was going to try a sharing/cooperation based economy of some form rather than a greed/competition based economy like we currently have.
Sigh, I guess we'll have to wait a few thousand more years....

Please introduce it in England (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15198350)

God, that'd mess up the Big Issue salesmen, and the bloody 'spare some change, guvnor' types, and even the 'my wallet was stolen, can you give me money for the train' lot.

No. I. Don't. Have. Any. Money.

Cashless society in the US too. (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15198352)

With all the massive credit card debt here, and everybody I know never has any money, I guess you could say we've got a cashless society here too!
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