IMTC Director unscrambles the 'Digital vs. Cash' debate

calendar iconNov 27, 2018


Clearing the air on the cash debate, IMTC Director - Hugo Cuevas-Mohr - lays out some of the key issues plaguing the cash debate in an article titled, Digital vs. Cash, are we getting it all wrong?

The International Money Transfer and Payments Conference (IMTC) is a forum that brings researchers, consultants, politicians, regulators and activists that work within the money transfer, remittances and cross-border payments industry. Cuevas-Mohr responds to industry chatter surrounding the cash debate in a no-nonsense article that covers and sums up some of the most essential reading on cash.

As well as offering a brief summary on the cash debate, the war on cash, the forces fighting to eliminate cash and their motives, the article also draws from some key statistics and facts on payments to support his arguments. Casting a light on some of the most reliable studies, articles, books, and speeches gearing the global discussion on cash and digital payments, the IMTC Director asks one key question:

'Why [do] the great organizations, members of the Alliance, agree that cash is a method of exchange of value that needs to be challenged and replaced instead of looking at ways to harness the power that cash has with its millions and millions of users and find ways to work on the synergies?'
"Hugo Cuevas-MohrIMTC Director

Excerpts from IMTC article

This article was conceived after discussing with colleagues in the industry why the payments world has been driven into the Cash vs. Digital dichotomy. My research on cash has been inspired by analyzing the penalization of cash-based industries, such as the money transfer industry by the banking sector, which has resulted in the derisking phenomenon that has hurt the traditional money transfer & remittance industry and their clients, in favor of digital models...

...I concur, along with cash advocates that the role of the government is not to assist in the development of commercial initiatives but to defend an ecosystem where consumers can choose freely which payment means they want to use. I think that what authorities dislike the most is not knowing where the cash is and the anonymity of cash. They prefer the money to be in a bank, legally or illegally managed, rather than in people’s pockets or mattresses. Technology – digital, is also finding ways to manage that perceived anonymity, with banknote reading technologies, facial recognition, etc. Remember that large chunks of society use cash for that particular reason, its anonymity. And not because they have reasons to hide, but that is another story...

“The paradox is that access to cash is controlled by a stakeholder [banks] with no interest in promoting cash and an interest in promoting its own competing products”
"Thierry LebeauxDirector of the European CashManagement Association (ESTA)

...What if we stop looking at the dichotomy and work on the great synergies that can be found in the ways in which technology – digital, is making cash more efficient, less risky, less costly to distribute and manage and spend time, money & resources in developing these synergies that in the end will be much more understandable for the great world majority that uses cash day in and day out. We might even reach a more just, fair digital world that way. Think about it.

Read the full article here

About IMTC

The IMTC Conferences were developed by Mohr World Consulting, a dedicated & professional team with experience in the international money transfer & payments industry as well as in the events industry.

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