To understand the future of cash payments and transactions,we need to understand the importance and prominence of cash throughout history.Understanding its role and timeline from primitive to modern societies. At thebeginning of humankind before coinage, bartering was used in lieu of money topurchase goods as people traded with who they trusted, the first record ofbartering was in Egypt. One of the primary forms of bartering included sheep,vegetables and cattle as man tended to his livestock, to barter with what they hadin surplus for what they were scarce.
Barter limits the developments betweentrading partners as product values were unequal and the product being offeredwas not always desired. Some primitive regions still use this kind ofprehistoric currency to trade. After a while comprehensive financial systemswere set up in ancient civilization that allowed the use of both barter andmoney for goods. In 600BC, the firstknown official currency was created by King Alyattes, with a roaring lionappearing on the coin face. Metals were straightforward to divide, store andcarry but were scarce which made them valuable.
Precious metals were recordedalongside other commodities, with their weightings conveying a variety ofobjects can be used for transactions. The standardised coinage resulted in greatertransparency and trade growth across the Mediterranean world. The first papermoney was invented by Chinese merchants in 1290 and was introduced to mainland Europeby Marco Polo which followed his voyage to China. However, initially papermoney didn’t take off and eventually coins progressed into bank notes around1661 because their value quickly depreciated and resulted in inflationskyrocketing (Burn-Callander 2014).
Paper money disappeared in China forcenturies then reappeared in Europe where it became common. This implementationwas pivotal for businesses as banks notes were mass supplied shifting from theheavy reliance on commodities such as gold and silver. Banks and countriesstarted buying each other’s currencies creating the first currency market andgovernment or monarch solidarity affected the valuation of their currency andtheir power when trading in the expanding international markets. The strongcompetition resulted in currency wars as rival countries would purposely drivedown currencies to increase the prices of their enemy’s goods making them tooexpensive, reducing their enemy’s purchasing power or by destroying thecurrency entirely.
To the 19th Century where paper money has become common inEuropean Countries, with the first credit being issued in 1946 invented by JohnBiggins. (Burn-Callander, 2014). In recent decades there was chip and pin, then contactless,and now smartphone payments: with these remarkable innovations in paymentstechnology, it is difficult not to picture a cashless society where cards,smartphones and other cash alternatives will be used to pay for daily expenses.Over twenty years ago there was no such thing as internet banking, chip cardsor pay wave.
Even something we deem to be simple such as transferring orwithdrawing funds required a physical trip to an ATM or bank branch but nowconsumers hold everything in the palms of our hands and it’s all in one place, withthe plethora of new technologies becoming integral to daily life we have thefreedom to pay for goods anywhere.