UK - The Glory of Cashless

Arno Froese

Nikki Hesford, 32, is a convert to person-to-person payment (P2P) apps, using PayPal to pay for services and Venmo to pay back friends.

“The only time in the last year I’ve drawn out cash is for the school fete cake stall and to pay my manicurist,” says Ms. Hesford, who runs her own marketing support company for small businesses.

“If I go for a meal with friends I can’t be bothered messing about with two, three or four cards,” she says.

“One person will pay on a card and the others will transfer through an app. It takes seconds rather than minutes fussing around with who owes what.”

Such P2P apps, like PayPal-owned Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay, Facebook Messenger, WeChat Pay, and Square Cash, let you pay someone in seconds because they’re hooked up to your bank account, credit card or debit card.

Zelle, one of the most popular payment apps in the US backed by 150 banks, launched in June 2017, has already processed more than 320 million transactions valued at $94bn (£72bn).

A recent report by Zion market research suggested that the global mobile-wallet market in general is expected to top $3bn by 2022, up from nearly $600m in 2016.

“You no longer need to waste time trying to find a cash machine to settle a debt, or fiddling around with sort codes and lengthy bank account numbers to transfer money,” explains Alison Sagar, PayPal UK’s head of consumer and marketing director.

“All you need is a mobile number or an email address, and in a few taps you can send money, just like a text message.”

Rachna Ahlawat, co-founder of Ondot Systems, a payment services platform, perceives a marked change in consumer behavior.

“We want transactions to happen in an instant and at the click of a button,” she says. “Consumers not only want to operate in real-time, but they are looking for technology that allows them to play a more active role in how they control their payments, and are finding new ways of managing their financial lives.”

But there are concerns that security and privacy are being sacrificed on the altar of convenience.

Unless you restricted your privacy settings [on the social media element to Venmo], this meant complete strangers could see your spending habits—including money spent on drugs, drink and even strippers. Some people even claim to have uncovered a partner’s infidelity via the app.

Such personal details are also gold dust for hackers wanting to make fake emails look as if they’ve come from real people in your organization, with the aim of persuading you to give away security information or even make payments you shouldn’t.

Used wisely, P2P payment apps are fast and convenient. Just make sure you understand the security and privacy settings, otherwise you could end up giving away more data than you intended and even sending money to fraudsters.

-www.bbc.com, 18 September 2018

Arno's commentary

For years, even decades, we have heard and read about the cashless society. Now it’s becoming a reality. Paying bills or transferring money from one account to another is simply a matter of seconds. The end result is clear: every person becomes a “bank” by just owning a mobile phone or email address. However, as the article indicates, criminals are just as smart, and one could easily become prey for such tricksters. That again requires the person using it to have the know-how technologically, which is most difficult for the older generation.

What does the future hold? Plainly, more convenience, more security. No more inconvenience of carrying sufficient cash. In the end, all people on planet earth will be required to have the cashless system, and that is the mark of the beast.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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