Companies create products for their customers either to fulfill a want or by creating a need. Plastic cards as products however, were a form of development for payments. Money was developed as a replacement of the exchange of gold (as it became dangerous to carry gold) and people started exchanging banknotes; plastic cards as well were developed instead of carrying cash. But were they developed to protect our freedom?

In the 1990s, the United States started requiring the delivery of welfare benefits through a new system called the Electronic Benefit Transfer instead of paper checks. The new system allowed beneficiaries to get their money via debit cards – meaning a big reduction of cash on the street and, as a result, significantly lowers crime rates.

There was later a research conducted by the University of Missouri which focused on crime rates in Missouri from 1990 to 2011. The big news is that the implementation of the Electronic Benefit Transfer system helped reduce the overall crime rate by 9.8 percent. That translates into a decrease of 47 crimes per 100,000 per county per month. Income-generating crimes were the main source of the decrease, with burglary, larceny and assault falling by 7.9 percent, 9.6 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

For some people, it is very comforting to carry a plastic card instead of cash others however, prefer to carry cash. On the one hand, paying with cash — once ubiquitous — can be cumbersome in today’s fast-paced environment. On the other, many still consider paying with cash the safest way to guard against sneaky bank fees and interest charges. Others argue that cashless societies might constitute a threat to our freedom.


Watch this video, Cashless society a threat to freedom?


A cashless society has its pros and cons. Crime can be fought by carrying more cards – as payments can be traced and carrying cash became dangerous. On the other hand, you might sacrifice your freedom when carrying a plastic card – as your own payments can be traced. Arguments for both sides are easy to find, but in the end it may not matter; the elimination of cash is more of a process than a decision, and it seems we’re all sliding in that direction – regardless of the purpose.


Share your thoughts,

Do you prefer cash or the use of plastic cards?

What do you think of the idea of a cashless society?


Where to find Dr. Islam Gouda,