Will cash become obsolete?

Gave presentation to the Telecommunications Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) on October 7, 2009, entitled “Will cash become obsolete? E-money, mobile payments and mobile commerce”.

Talk was attended by about 30-40 executives from major global telecom operators, global banks, new-age payment companies, and from major internet companies.

Outline:

What is money?

  1. Medium of exchange
  2. Unit of account
  3. Store of value
  4. (Standard of deferred payment, unit for debt)

e-Cash value to society:

  • reduced cash handling costs
  • Higher transaction speed
  • Convenience
  • Greater security (especially mobile) vs. reduced privacy

Why should be care? (Summary)

  • Electronic money is here to stay
  • One e-money card/Japanese person
  • 2% of banknotes and coins today
  • YEN 100 billion outstanding
  • YEN 100 billion transactions/month
  • Japan is far in advance, rest-of-world is likely to follow. But can Japan capture the value? maybe not.
  • However: “Galapagos syndrome

More information in our reports:
Mobile payments, e-money and mobile credit in Japan
SUICA and NFC payment for transport
QR codes are also used for payment

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