retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how the US Congress, by beginning a series of hearings, " is preparing itself for the next big thing when it comes to money - a future in which payments are made with a wandlike wave of a phone rather than the exchange of wrinkled pieces of paper."

Since the mid-1990s, the story says, "cash has been in decline, according to a Federal Reserve estimate. It now faces stiff competition not only from credit cards but also from smart phones that promise businesses a way to advertise to customers before they pay or to offer them coupons, sort of like printing a little ad next to George Washington's face or bumping up the value of a dollar bill to a dollar and 15 cents."

And here is an some interesting statistic: "The Federal Reserve found in March that 12 percent of cell phone users had already made a payment through their phones," the Chronicle writes. "The same month, almost two-thirds of technology experts surveyed by the Pew Center on Internet and American Life said they expected mobile payments to eclipse cash and credit cards by 2020."
KC's View:
Hard to imagine going completely cashless, at least not in my lifetime, but at the very least I hope that the government asks the right questions and tries to get ahead of this curve, as opposed to the way it has handled the US Postal Service.