First things first: Yes the world is coming to an end, and we’re closer today than we were yesterday, but most pastors and church leaders suggest that coronavirus isn’t on the timeline. So take a deep breath, it’s not the end of the world. Yet.
Indeed, we have been inching closer toward a one-world government and a common currency for decades, but recent events have brought the cashless society to the forefront. Stores are posting signs alerting customers that they either will not accept cash payments or cannot give change if paid in dollars and cents.
It’s an alarm that many have sounded far and wide, from text messages to emails and Facebook to Instagram and even churches.
This is a wakeup call of sorts for many, but America is far down the cashless road. Fewer and fewer people are using cash, as businesses become more technologically advanced. And statistics demonstrate that cash is no longer king. The FDIC, in fact, says that fewer than 30% of all transactions were handled via cash in 2017.
But if you don’t believe the stats, put it to the test: How much cash is in your wallet right now? For me, it’s less than $5. I just don’t carry it, haven’t for several years. My reasoning may be different than yours, but a debit card is simply easier to track. For some, if they have cash, they go through it like wildfire. For others, they’re afraid of losing it or it being stolen.
Now, how many debit and credit cards are in your wallet? Oh, and how many apps (e.g. Starbucks, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Zelle, Android Pay, Venmo, CASH etc.) are on your smartphone? Finally, how many bills do you pay online (as opposed to using an online-type bill pay)?
So, frankly, it’s a little late to chime in with righteous indignation about the nearness to the cashless society. Going cashless is simply not much of an inconvenience to most of us, but it’s more about the symbolic snapshot and the state of the times. It has caught the attention of Christians and non-Christians alike. Moreover, while it may be a sign of the end times, the cashless society is only a mile marker on our journey to a one-world government.
A cashless society is not mentioned explicitly in the Bible. The more appropriate areas to keep your eye on are the one-world government and discussion about the anti-Christ. Of course, your most significant focal point should be on Israel, with its biblical enemies Russia (Magog) and China. And, one more hint: Keep an eye on the temple rebuild plan in Israel. When that happens, let’s talk about wrapping things up for this world.
But, face it, the journey toward the U.S being cashless began decades ago and has only increased exponentially in the more recent digital age. It’s one of those slow erosion processes. A little here, a little there, and suddenly you wake up one morning and, voila! we reach the tipping point and boom, it’s a new day! Similarly, it’s a picture of how quickly the rapture and the anti-Christ will come upon the world.
To be sure, though, many people and even businesses are not in favor of a completely cashless society. In a recent survey for Square, 73% of Americans believe we will never be completely cashless and 83% of small businesses never plan to go cashless. Of course, that survey is at least a year old and doesn’t take current events into account.
Still, there is existing legislation in some states (Massachusetts, New Jersey) and other major municipalities such as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia that prohibit businesses from going cashless. In contrast, other legislators have attempted over the years to push toward that very goal. You also won’t be surprised to learn that China, Sweden, South Korea and the U.K. are some of the leading countries rushing and pushing toward becoming cashless. By comparison, these countries could soon be cashless, though due to China’s population, it may take a bit longer.
But, while there are many advantages to operating with a chip and/or a card, a cashless society has many hurdles to clear. For example, as many as 15% of Americans do not have bank accounts. An older generation not privy to technology is another. These and other hurdles can be remedied, of course, but we aren’t there just yet.
Though the powers that be are chipping away at it, cash is deeply ingrained in our society. We still pay cash for tips at restaurants, for bellmen and valets at many hotels, for gift-giving (remember that $50 bill in your last birthday card from grandma?). And, believe it or not, some gas stations still give a discount for paying with cash (it saves them the “discount” fee for cards).
But in today’s times, it’s obvious that coins and dollar bills are not in as much circulation as just 4-5 months ago. Quarantine and unemployment have seen to that, keeping many coins and bills out of circulation. Think vending machines, coin-operated laundromats and car washes, parking meters, arcade games or that small gift you wanted to be a surprise. And you’re ordering more online right now, too, because of the coronavirus (Amazon, local restaurants, groceries etc). Not to mention, when is the last time they passed the offering bucket at church! But the days of nickel and diming you to death are coming to an end eventually.
In a worldly sense, there are some advantages to going cashless:
- There’s no tangible money for criminals to steal out of your purse or pocket.
- Money exchange is easier if you travel to foreign countries.
- No more storing money, Brinks’ trucks, counting out registers at Wal Mart.
- It’s just a cleaner (literally and figuratively) way of doing business.
- Tax evasion (read: those people who get paid in cash). They will no longer have an option to not paying taxes.
Of course, there are many disadvantages:
- Technical glitches and power outages may limit your access to your funds.
- How do you pay yard boys, buy lemonade from the neighbor’s kids, give money to the homeless and put money in birthday cards?
- Increased cybercrime. Criminals will always find a way to steal. Take away the cash and the more sophisticated hacker will figure out how to get it from you anyway.
- People tend to spend more if using a debit/credit card. A disadvantage for you, an advantage for them.
- Your information is already out there, but you can bet you’ll be more compromised in a cashless society.
To be sure, we are walking through perilous times, and we must be circumspect in our actions, plans, and finances. But, also know this: Many retailers and businesses don’t realize the impact of what they are doing. Remember that many of the soldiers at Jesus’ crucifixion didn’t realize the magnitude of their efforts on that momentous day, so too many leaders today do not understand their roles in moving toward the one-world government and other end-time prophecies. So don’t take it out on the clerk or even the small business owner who may be acting unawares.
For example, grocery stores and others are merely playing the hand they’ve been dealt by not accepting cash. Frankly, with the quarantine and many people not working, coins and dollars are not in circulation. But it also relieves a huge burden on stores already operating in changing times.
Similarly, stores and restaurants pushing online orders and pickup not only are free of handling cash. But they don’t have to deal with buggy maintenance or overcrowded parking, they can employee fewer cashiers, and fast-food restaurants don’t have to clean bathrooms, counter areas and dining room areas, restock condiments, napkins etc. Fewer employees, no cash to keep track of and fewer supplies is an appeal to most business people.
For many of the reasons above, it’s evident we haven’t arrived at a cashless society just yet. Indeed, it’s coming and the events of 2020 may hasten it, but there are still hurdles to clear. One of those hurdles is an older generation of people who remember what having cash is like and aren’t as tech-savvy. In other words, there’s an attrition factor involved since younger people are already well adept at living with cards and apps and other payment methods.
Finally, if you’re interested in prophecy and where we are headed in the months and years to come, keep your eyes focused on talk of a one-world government, common currency and, of course, Israel, which will become the focal point more and more.
Spread the word, the cashless society is coming and so is the end of the world. Just not yet.