Maternity Pay in the UK: How Does it Compare Worldwide?

Maternity Pay in the UK: How Does it Compare Worldwide?

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) deems maternity pay decent if it is equal to at least 66.67% of a woman’s earnings before maternity or more than £840 monthly. In this regard, British maternity pay ranks very poorly in Europe and among other developed countries.
A recent TUC report shows that British mothers get just one and a half months worth of decent maternity pay during their maternity leave. This ranks Britain third worst in the entire euro zone in regards to paternal benefits. The most recent TUC report shows that British mothers are only ahead of Ireland and Slovakia in regards to paternal benefits.

Under current UK laws, women can take 12 months of maternity leave. In such a case, one qualifies for 39 weeks of paid leave. For the first six weeks, mothers are entitled to 90% of their current salary. Their entitlement then drops significantly to approximately £140 a week which is way below Britain’s minimum wage according to Trades Union Congress.
The below average maternity pay has forced many UK mothers back to work earlier than is recommended just to make ends meet. This is according to the TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady. O’Grady states that Britain is in the ”relegation zone” in regards to reasonably paid maternity leave.

While UK mothers struggle to survive on minuscule maternity pay, go back to work a few weeks after giving birth or consider surviving on short-term debt like payday loans, their counterparts in Croatia enjoy six months of decently-paid maternity leave according to the TUC. Croatia has the best parental benefits. Hungary follows closely with over 5.5 months of decently-paid maternity leave.

The Czech Republic and Poland rank third and fourth in the list of countries with the best maternity pay. Estonia, Italy, and Spain have all tied in the fifth spot with 3.7 months of decently-paid maternity leave each.

What’s more interesting is UK mothers are below their Bulgaria counterparts regardless of the fact that Bulgaria is among the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. Mothers in Bulgaria are entitled to 410 days of paid maternity leave according to statistics from the OECD. It gets better. The pay is approximately 90% of a mother’s gross salary, and there is an option for mothers to take another year off with their pay matching the minimum wage. The maternity leave is also transferable to the father or guardians such as grandparents who are still part of the working population.

Greece is also ahead of the UK in regards to maternity leave with 43 weeks of paid leave equivalent to over 50% of mother’s average earnings. Although the minimum wage in Greece has fallen due to austerity measures imposed in the past, mothers in Greece are still better off.

Mothers in Germany enjoy 14 weeks of fully-paid leave. The same applies to mothers in Austria, France, and Spain. According to OECD statistics, Ireland offers 42 weeks maternity leave, 26 of which are paid (flat rate of 230 Euros per week).

The United States doesn’t warrant paid maternity leave. However, companies which employ more than 50 people must provide three months of unpaid job-protected leave. Some states like New Jersey, California Rhode Island guarantee paid maternity leave. Most medium-sized and large companies in the U.S. also offer paid leave which usually matches the wages of the mother and lasts for three months.

What should be done?

According to the TUC, the UK government needs to increase the statutory maternity pay as well as maternity allowance to match the minimum wage so that UK mothers can enjoy decent paternal benefits. Such a move would also ensure UK mothers go back to work when they are healthy and ready. The TUC has also urged the UK government to boost the shared parental pay as well as paternity pay.

The national trade union believes money shouldn’t be the main factor for UK mothers looking to decide who should look after their newborn. With the current maternity pay way below the minimum wage, UK mothers have no choice but to choose work over their newborns or take up short-term loans to survive maternity.

A recent research study done by comparethemarket.com indicates that UK mothers spend at least £184 per week on their newborns. The research study surveyed 1500 new as well as expectant mothers/parents. According to Jody Coughlan, the Head of life insurance at comparethemarket.com (a price comparison website), the UK government’s statutory maternity pay of £139.58 weekly leaves parents with a deficit of £44.44 a week which translates to £2,310 a year. According to Mr. Coughlan, this figure doesn’t even consider other bills faced by households such as energy bills and monthly mortgage repayments.

Car Insurance in the UK Could Rise as Much as 1k after Government Changes

Car Insurance in the UK Could Rise as Much as 1k after Government Changes

Many Britons, more so young people could be unable to afford cars in the future after insurers warned of higher annual premiums. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) puts typical cover costs at £462 and projects a yearly increase of 8% due to tax hikes and whiplash claims. This may see annual car insurance premiums in Britain increase to £1,000.
Elderly drivers haven’t been spared either. Drivers aged 65 years and above face an additional £300 charge. The typical comprehensive motor insurance policy premium in Britain also stands to increase by approximately £75 yearly to cater for the changes the UK government has made on personal injury payouts.

Although the changes favour victims of car crashes and medical negligence among other related car insurance incidents, the move puts more pressure on insurers, the National Health Service and other public bodies charged with the responsibility of paying the increased claims. According to Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, the changes have significant implications on both the private and public sector.

According to Mohammad Khan who is the Head of General Insurance at PwC, the changes will increase costs for drivers in the UK. Motor insurance prices are bound to increase. Khan also sees an increase in commercial insurance rates applicable to small businesses. Following the government changes, there is an anticipated increase of £50 to £75 in the cost of comprehensive insurance with the increase for both young and old drivers reaching £1,000 and £300 respectively.

According to Khan, the announcement, as well as the increase in IPT (Insurance Premium Tax), makes any prior savings enjoyed on premiums redundant. The government’s personal injury reforms were anticipated to offer an average savings of £40 for every motor insurance policy. Khan sees significant increases in the price of insurance for young and old drivers despite the fact that the increasing competitiveness in the insurance industry is expected to offer better prices.

Reinsurance prices are also expected to go up for liability and motor reinsurance covers. This will see most companies become over dependent on lower-level reinsurance companies whose cost of doing business is bound to increase after renewing their reinsurance.

Discount rate falls from 2.5% to -0.75% as of 20th March 2017

The discount rate had remained the same since 2001. When victims of serious car injuries accept compensation payments in a lump sum, the actual payment received is adjusted to account for the interest the amount is expected to earn after being invested.
Claimants have to be treated like risk-averse investors who are dependent on the amount they receive for a large part or the entire duration of their life. Compensation awarded using the discount rate is meant to put individuals in similar financial positions had they not suffered an injury, while taking into account their healthcare costs and future earnings.

The discount rate has fallen from 2.5% to -0.75% as of 20th March. Compensation payments have also increased. The effects of this decision will have a significant knock-on consequence on public services like the NHS facing large personal injury liabilities. The NHS saw its clinical negligence costs increase from £1.2 billion in 2015 to £1.5 billion in 2016 in England.

The insurance industry will also be affected significantly by the move. According to the Director General of ABI, Huw Evans, the decision to cut the discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75% is crazy and reckless. Evans sees a drastic increase in claims costs which will, in turn, increase the liability and motor premiums for countless drivers as well as business in the UK. Evans estimates that over 36 million policies will be affected just to compensate a few claimants every year.

While setting the rate, Ms. Truss who is a Justice Secretary and independent Lord Chancellor claimed she was confident she set the only legally acceptable rate. Many are however of the idea that the rate is still unfair. For instance, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron feels the rate is unfair to young people who may very well be unable to afford cars as the cost of insurance rises to £1,000.

Although the UK government promises to fund the NHS Litigation Authority appropriately to cater for the changes to clinical negligence costs in hospitals as well as ensure a closer working relationship between GPs and the Department of Health, insurance costs are still expected to rise drastically. Other measures such as consultations meant to create a better framework for defenders and claimants are also expected to bear little fruit if they are not followed by serious changes.

A Quick Guide to Investing in Bonds

A Quick Guide to Investing in Bonds

Definition: Bonds

Bonds are simply signed agreements acknowledging a debt. Bonds are issued by governments and companies to raise capital. People who buy bonds are paid a certain amount of interest plus their capital investment at a specific date in the future. Bonds are attractive investments because they are low-risk and investors usually know how much money they will make from the onset.

Types of bonds

To be able to invest in bonds successfully, you need to understand the different types of bonds available. Bonds are classified according to the institution that issues them. Governments and companies can issue bonds. Government-issued bonds are known as government bonds while those issued by companies are known as corporate bonds.
Government bonds are less risky since the likely hood of a government failing to repay bond investors is very low. Government bonds can either be short-dated or long-dated. Short-dated government bonds tend to have the lowest returns since most people aren’t willing to wait for decades to enjoy investment returns.

Corporate bonds are riskier than government bonds since the chances of a company defaulting on its debt obligations are higher. Nevertheless, corporate bonds attract better returns than government bonds. The chances of shareholders being paid in the event of a default are also higher.

Bond investment risk grading

Before you invest in a bond, it is important for you to assess the riskiness of your investment. Luckily, bonds are graded depending on their credit risks, so it is easy to know if a bond’s credit risk is within your risk appetite. Investment grade bonds are rated from AAA to BB. These types of bonds have a favourable credit risk. Such bonds are issued by governments and big, blue-chip companies. It is important for you to understand the bond credit rating system in-depth for you to be able to choose bonds with a favourable credit risk.

Pricing

Like any other traded securities, the prices of bonds fluctuate. To be able to invest in bonds successfully you should focus on the yield which is simply the money you will make as interest. The yield and bond price are inversely correlated in that the yield goes up when the price goes down, and vice versa. Understanding this correlation will help you choose the most profitable bonds.

Investing in bonds

There are several options to consider when investing in bonds in the UK. One, you can buy bonds through a broker who is a member of the London Stock Exchange. You can also buy directly from the company issuing the bond. It is safer to go through a broker who is a member of the London Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange has a platform that allows retail investors to buy and sell government bonds and corporate bonds. The exchange has safeguards in place that protect investors and their investment.

Besides using brokers, you can invest in bonds in the UK via a dedicated bond fund. This option is ideal for first-time bond investors since you get access to a fund manager who will invest in bonds on your behalf while advising you accordingly. It is important to consult a bond manager when investing in bonds for the first time since bond investing can be confusing initially, and timing is a crucial factor when investing in bonds. Your ability to make money is highly dependent on when you buy/sell your bond. Furthermore, bond managers have in-depth knowledge about the bond market.

Seasoned bond investors can consider more sophisticated bond investing options such as investing in fixed income EFTs (Exchange Traded Funds) which track indices composed of different types of bonds.

Precautions

Bond investing is low-risk and very profitable in the long term. You should, however, grasp the basics first and seek the services of a bond manager to get the best out of the market without exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. The above guide covers the basics to investing in bonds in the UK. It is advisable to utilise this guide as a tool for conducting further research.

The Best Way to Recover From Financial Shock

The Best Way to Recover From Financial Shock

Definition: Financial Shock

Financial shock can be defined as an unexpected event that affects a person’s finances negatively. Emergency expenses such as shock utility bills, home repair and car repair bills are some of the most common causes of financial shock. Such expenses are bound to disorganise your finances if you don’t have adequate savings to cover them. This highlights the importance of setting up an emergency fund as soon as possible.

Emergency expenses can force you to deplete your savings, borrow from friends and family as well as take up short term loans like payday loans. To avoid over-reliance on such measures which usually cause more financial stress, you need to build an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have six months worth of living expenses or more in your emergency fund. If that’s not the case with you and you are in financial distress because of an emergency expense, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s what you need to do to recover.

Step 1: Acceptance

To tackle any difficulty in life, you must accept your situation first. Acceptance is important because it helps you tackle the root cause of your problem. Every financial difficulty can be avoided by taking some measure earlier in life. Acceptance will help you see where you went wrong. For instance, you may realise you didn’t have enough savings, good insurance, etc. Instead of wasting time feeling sorry for yourself, accept and spring into action.

Step 2: Assess your situation

Once you accept your current situation, proceed and find out how much resources you have and the liabilities you face. You need to know your exact financial health to get out of financial distress and formulate a realistic plan. You should find out your total monthly income, expenses, and debt. Do you have payday loans, credit card debt, car loans, etc.? You should also find out how much you have in assets. It’s also important to know the short term and long term implications of the financial shock you have faced, if there are any. For instance, you may have taken out a loan to settle an emergency expense. What are the repayment terms?

Step 3: Set your goals

After getting the true picture of your current financial situation, it’s time to set goals aimed at getting you out of the situation. The goals should be specific. After assessing your current situation, you should know how much money you need to get out of your current financial situation. With this in mind, you should have goals detailing how you intend to make the amount of money you need to get out of debt. Your goals must be realistic otherwise you will never be able to recover from the financial shock. Your goals also need to be measurable. To do this, break up large goals into small manageable steps. The idea here is to be completely honest with yourself and ensure you achieve whatever you decide to do to make your financial situation better.

Step 4: Formulate a plan

With clear, realistic and measurable goals in place, you should be able to formulate a good plan. When planning, you need to know where you will get money for paying outstanding debt. You can consider getting another job or adjusting your budget. In most cases, there are expenses you can forgo to pay up outstanding debt. You can also create new income streams by moving to a cheaper house, selling an asset, using public transport, etc. After suffering financial shock, you need to cut down on unnecessary spending otherwise you won’t recover. Your plan should focus on this without putting too much pressure on significant expenses. Don’t forget to include an emergency fund in your plan.

Step 5: Take action

All the steps discussed above are useless if you don’t take action. You must make those lifestyle changes and pursue your goals religiously to recover. Most people dream about improving their financial situation, but nothing changes until you take action.
Recovering from financial shock starts with acceptance. You must also assess your current situation to identify your mistakes. Proceed by setting goals and formulating a plan that will take you out of your situation and protect you for in the future. Lastly, you need to take action. You can’t get out of financial shock if you don’t do anything to change your situation. Become debt free, build an adequate emergency fund and take up the necessary insurance coverage to protect yourself in the future.

How Does Fiscal and Monetary Policy Impact Your Personal Finance?

How Does Fiscal and Monetary Policy Impact Your Personal Finance?

What is fiscal policy?

Fiscal policy can be defined as the means by which governments adjust spending levels as well as tax rates to influence a country’s economy.

What is monetary policy?

Monetary policy can be defined as the process by which monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks or currency boards control the supply of money by changing interest rates.

Effects of fiscal policy on personal finance

Since fiscal policy is simply about how the government decides to spend money as well as the tax rates/rules it puts in place, fiscal policy has a significant impact on the personal finances of citizens in a country. Government spending takes many forms varying from government investments in development to spending on social security payments, welfare, etc.

When a government spends more on development, there is a positive impact on the economy. For instance, more jobs are created, and citizens have more money in their pockets to spend on goods and services. When people have more money, they are able to support small businesses which are the main drivers of the economy. The opposite happens when the government lowers spending on development. Unemployment is bound to rise. The price of goods and services also rises making life expensive.

The government’s stand on taxes also has a direct impact on your personal finance. When the government lowers income tax, for instance, citizens have more money to spend on goods and services. This, in turn, propels the industries that make those goods and services boosting the economy in the process. When the income tax is too high, citizens have less money in their pockets which reduces their buying power and slows down the economy.

In a nutshell, your personal finances are bound to be affected favourably when there are favourable tax laws and the government is spending money on things that grow the economy and put more money into the pockets of ordinary citizens.

Effects of monetary policy on personal finance

The monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks control the supply of money mainly to boost the economy. Central banks have several of tools for controlling the money supply. For instance, central banks can increase or decrease the amount of reserves banks are required to maintain. This increases or decreases the amount of money banks have for lending to the public as loans. Central banks can also buy or sell financial instruments like bonds to increase or decrease the money supply. Central banks can also raise or lower interest rates to make loans expensive or cheap.

Central banks can maintain tight, neutral or loose monetary policy depending on the performance of the economy. For instance, central banks tend to lower interest rates when there is poor economic growth. This encourages people to borrow since people have more access to cheap loans. This type of monetary policy is accommodative. Central banks can also take tight monetary policy stands i.e. raising short-term interest rates to moderate the pace of economic growth. This usually takes place when inflation is increasing significantly, and central banks want to reduce the amount of money in circulation to stabilise prices.

Monetary policy has a direct and indirect impact on personal finance. The direct impact revolves around the direction of interest rates while the indirect impact revolves around the expectations of economic players. When central banks raise interests, the cost of credit also increases as lenders increase the interest rates charged on loans. New, as well as existing loans, become more expensive. In regards to expectations, potential investors who depend on loans are bound to slow down or stop investing when the cost of loans increases. Monetary policy also has an effect on asset classes such as bonds, equities, real estate, commodities, and currencies. In real estate, for instance, high-interest rates tend to make mortgages expensive.

Summary

Fiscal and monetary policies have a significant impact on every person’s finances. Government spending and tax rates have a significant impact on development, employment, social security payments and overall economic growth which determines how much money citizens have in their pockets. The interest rates set by central banks also determines how much money is circulating in the economy at any given time and this has an effect on how much citizens pay for goods and services.
You must strive to understand fiscal and monetary policy in-depth for you to be able to make smart personal finance decisions.

Secrets to Choosing the Best Credit Card in the U.K.

Secrets to Choosing the Best Credit Card in the U.K.

Introduction: Credit cards in the UK

There are countless credit card offers in the UK today which makes it hard for consumers to choose the best credit cards. Furthermore, credit card companies in the UK have aggressive marketing strategies. UK consumers get many credit card offers every day from new and existing companies most of which aren’t great. Furthermore, credit card debt is a huge problem in the UK, so it’s important to think twice before you get a credit card.
The typical UK household accumulates approximately £2,500 in credit card debt every month as of April 2017 statistics. Credit card usage stands at roughly £2 billion every day. Considering most credit cards come with hidden terms and conditions and costly fees in case of late payments, excessive usage, etc., it’s important to choose credit cards carefully. Although there are other suitable sources of short-term debt like payday loans, here’s what you need to know if you choose to get a credit card.

What are your reasons for getting a credit card?

Credit cards should be taken by people who need them. Receiving a credit card offer isn’t, therefore, a good reason for getting a credit card. In fact, credit cards which you don’t need are bad for you. People need credit cards for different reasons. You may want to buy things online, pay bills conveniently, buy things when you travel abroad, etc. There has to be a pressing need for a credit otherwise there is no need to apply for one. The need should revolve around convenience since credit cards hardly save you significant amounts of money or make you any money as many people have been led to believe.

Check the charges

Credit cards come with many charges if you don’t pay off what you have borrowed within a month. The best credit card for you is one that has reasonable charges. Credit card charges range from annual percentage rate (APR) and annual fees to minimum repayment and introductory interest charges. The annual percentage rate is simply the cost of borrowing money using the card if you are unable to settle the debt in a month. Different credit card companies have different APR charges. You should choose the company that has the cheapest charges.

The minimum repayment charge also applies if you don’t pay off the debt in a month. The charge is approximately 3% of the debt due or £5 (whichever is higher). Some credit cards also come with annual fees for using the card. The fees can also attract interest if you don’t pay your debt in full every month. The fee can also vary depending on your spending on the card. Introductory interest rate charges apply when you are paying a lower interest rate or no interest at all.

Credit card charges are usually highlighted in the credit agreement. You must compare the credit agreement of different cards to be able to choose the card that comes with the best charges. There are many other charges that apply to most credit cards today so be sure to check and compare what different cards charge to be able to choose the best credit card.

Incentives

The best credit cards come with low charges as well as incentives. Credit card incentives come in two main ways namely; cash backs and loyalty points or rewards. The best credit cards reward you for using them. You should choose a credit card that offers the most loyalty points for every pound spent. The card should also reward you for shopping in most (if not all) your favourite shopping stores. It’s also important to select a card that offers loyalty points or rewards that can be redeemed conveniently. You should also check if you qualify for cash backs (refunds) since such incentives are based on your spending. Most credit card incentives are valid when you pay all your debt in full every month so, choose a suitable credit card with this in mind.

Use a credit card comparison website

Lastly, you need to consider using a credit card comparison website. After doing your own comparison, you should compare the information offered by credit card comparison websites. There are many credit card comparison websites in the UK. You just need to search on Google and compare the results offered by different websites against your own analysis. The websites are fast and easy to use. They also give detailed comparisons based on your needs and all the important parameters you need to consider.

Summary

It takes time and effort to choose the best credit card for you. You can’t afford to jump at every credit card offer you receive before doing your own due diligence. You should first have a valid reason for getting a credit card. The card you choose should also have the lowest charges. You should also be able to take advantage of the incentives. Lastly, consider using a credit card comparison website just to confirm that you are choosing the best credit card.

There are better alternatives to credit cards today, you can apply for payday loans if you have short term loan needs. Payday loans are faster and cheaper. You can get them online, and their charges have been capped by the FCA.

Top Retirement Myths Capable of Destroying Your Retirement

Top Retirement Myths Capable of Destroying Your Retirement

Introduction

Having misconceptions about retirement can make you draft the wrong saving strategies which will, in turn, make your life harder during your golden years. The importance of knowing the truth about retirement can’t, therefore, be overlooked. For instance, you need between 65 and 90% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your current living standards. However, most people think they can do it with 50% or less. Some people also expect to keep working beyond age 65 however, less than 15% of today’s retirees manage to keep working past age 65. Most people planning to retire also fail to account for variable spending. This explains why retirement isn’t so rosy for many people. If you want to retire gracefully and avoid surviving on short term loans like payday loans, here are the top retirement myths you should beware of.

Myth 1: There is a magic number

Most retirement experts encourage retirees to save ”enough” and draw utmost 4% of their retirement savings each year to ensure the money lasts a lifetime. This 4% rule isn’t a universal rule. The rule works for retirees who have saved ”enough”. The 4% rule is also hard to follow given the fact that the lifestyle, health as well as investments of retirees vary. In a nutshell, there is no magic number because retirement plans and withdrawal strategies vary. For this reason, you need to focus on your own retirement as opposed to following figures which aren’t universally applicable.

Myth 2: You can work for as long as you want

Many people also make the mistake of thinking they can work for as long as they want. As mentioned above, most people think they can still work past age 65. However, very few people (15%) actually work past that age. There are also people who expect to keep working for the rest of their lives. This myth is detrimental because it stops many people from planning their retirement early. Ideally, you should start planning for your retirement during your prime age since this is when you can work and save the most. Furthermore, you may be willing to work as long as you want but there is no one willing to employ you. Health issues can also get in your way given the risks of falling sick are higher with age. This myth shouldn’t be used as an excuse for delaying to set up your retirement account.

Myth 3: You spend less in retirement

Many people have also been led to think that retirement life is cheaper and easier. This is far from the truth. Although retirees don’t incur expenses like transport costs incurred by the working population, you are not assured of spending less during retirement. Furthermore, things never get cheaper so don’t expect to pay less either. You also need to account for unique expenses such as health-related expenditures which are mostly unplanned for by most people. Retirees also face other emergency expenses like regular people. For instance, you can damage your car or an appliance. You may also get an unexpected house repair bill. If you don’t have a provision for emergency expenses already, you will have to turn to loans like payday loans or borrow from family or friend which eventually increases your spending. In a nutshell, thinking that you will spend less in retirement is a recipe for disaster.

Myth 4: You will live in your current house throughout retirement

Retiring when you have your own house is a great thing. However, don’t assume you won’t move during retirement. Although most people plan their retirement without considering moving costs, most retirees end up moving for one reason or the other. It’s better to make provisions for moving early rather than be forced to live in the same place for life.

Summary

If you care about having a great retirement, you should avoid falling victim to the above myths when you start or continue with your retirement planning process. Retirement planning should be customised to match your lifestyle. It should also be done as early as possible since no one is in control of their working years. You should also expect to spend the same amount of money you are spending currently or more as a precautionary measure. Lastly, don’t forget to make provisions for moving as well as emergency expenses to avoid relying too much on short-term emergency loans like payday loans.

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Cashless Society

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Cashless Society

Cash hasn’t disappeared from our everyday life although innovation is already working towards replacing physical (paper) money with wireless payments systems via computers and mobile phones. Global IT giants like IBM have already taken steps to link biometric signatures to wireless payments to prevent identity theft in cashless transactions. There are many digital wallets available today, and all indications suggest that we will be living in a cashless society in the near future. In a cashless society, physical money is held by third parties like banks or the government.These third parties allow you to transact as you wish. This presents both pros and cons. Some people argue in support of a cashless society while others argue against. To help you make your own decision, below are the top pros and cons of living in a cashless society.

Pros of a cashless society

1. Reduced crime rates: Numerous studies have shown that going cashless reduces crime rates significantly. When people stop handling physical cash as much, the rate of crimes like bank robberies, burglaries, extortion, and corruption decline significantly. Going cashless creates a money trail that discourages crime.

2. Financial inclusion: A cashless society enhances financial inclusion. For instance, mobile money systems have made it possible to provide financial services to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access. Increased access to financial services like loans to people who didn’t have access automatically reduces poverty. Mobile money platforms have allowed many poor people in third world countries send and receive money as well as get access to small loans instantly. Such individuals wouldn’t have access to financial services were it not for cashless systems.

3. Increased tax revenue: A cashless society also enhances tax collection since more people have money trails making it harder to evade tax. Tax authorities also have an easier time finding tax evaders. Increased tax revenue means governments will have more money to spend on development among many other programs beneficial to citizens.

4. Boosts consumption: A cashless society offers little to no incentives for hoarding cash which in turn encourages consumption. When people are willing to spend more, the economy grows significantly. More jobs are bound to be created, and the overall standard of living also improves.

5. Unmatched security and convenience: Carrying physical cash comes with a lot of security risks and inconveniences. Your chances of being robbed are lower in a cashless society. Physical cash is also bulky, so a cashless society comes with unmatched convenience. You can carry around as much money as you want and transact hassle freely.

Cons of a cashless society

1. Money is controlled by third parties: As mentioned above, third parties such as public/private banks and the government are usually the custodians of physical cash in a cashless society. This gives them a lot of control. In simple terms, you must trust the third parties to act in your best interests. This is scary for most people since the control held by these third parties can be misused. Your money can be withheld if you become an “enemy of the state” for whatever reason. When you are in possession of physical cash, you are not at the mercy of anyone.

2. Unique security risks: Cashless societies may have reduced crime rates i.e. reduced bank robberies, burglaries, etc., however, they are still vulnerable to security risks such as cyber attacks and fraud. Since all transactions are digital, cyber attacks can lead to devastating losses. Crimes such as identity theft are easier in a cashless society since all your details are available online.

3. Unique inconveniences: In a cashless society, eventualities such as power or system outages can leave you cashless for hours or even days. Losing your phone or computer can also deny you access to money for a prolonged time.

4. Reduced liquidity may cause unemployment in some sectors: Liquidity is good for certain sectors such as the retail industry. A cashless society gets rid of liquidity causing unemployment in sectors which depend highly on liquidity.

Summary

Technological advancements are pushing countries to follow the cashless route. Although there are many pros of a cashless society, there are cons as well. The above information on living cashless offers a good basis for deciding whether going cashless is good or bad. It’s, however, important to understand that there is more to cashless living that what is covered above.