Could the COVID-19 Pandemic Cause the End of Handling Cash?

May 12, 2020

Financial technology, or fintech, has come into play, quite a bit, during the coronavirus outbreak. And during this time, there are questions as to whether cash could go the way of the dinosaurs.

It comes down to this...

"If you haven't written a check in a long time or if you have used your cell phone to split a bill, then most people have subtly experienced what is essentially a revolution," said Daniel P. Simon, author and CEO of Vested.

Financial technology, or fintech, has become a way of life for many of us – especially in this age of coronavirus.

Simon said when financial technology surfaced about a decade ago, "for the most part, the traditional financial industry was slow to adopt technology," but "you are seeing that change. Banks have woken up to the challenge, as well as the opportunity to lower their costs and provide better services to their customers."

And, he said, now there are thousands of fintech companies, serving every aspect of our financial life, from how we borrow money to how we spend it, save it, and invest it.

Fintech has made it possible to never touch cash - a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"People don't want to handle cash and they don't want to get close enough to people to exchange cash right now," Simon said.

And, according to Simon, financial technology also plays another role during this pandemic.

"At least with the distribution of the government stimulus funds, whether it is unemployment, whether it is so called stimulus checks, which aren't really checks anymore, most of them are direct ACH transfers into people's bank accounts," he said.

Or whether it’s the Payroll Protection Program money for smaller businesses.  Much of that – Simon said – is running electronically – aka – fintech. 

He said those who created it were more technologists than financial people, and in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, Simon said there’s thinking by those who study thing is that this could be the end of handling cash.

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