Is Apple the Company That Kills Cash?

by Jason Unger

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We’ve talked a ton about spending without cash, living a paperless lifestyle, and even cashless countries.

It only seems inevitable that, at some point, we’re going to be a cashless society.

Now, that doesn’t mean there are no downsides to not being able to buy and spend with cold hard cash, but as more and more people use debit and credit cards and mobile devices to pay for their goods and services, cash is going to become less and less important.

If it’s going to actually happen, Apple wants to be the company the makes it happen.

Apple, one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world, has its toes in the water of mobile payments with Apple Pay, but wants to do more.

According to an interview with Japanese news service Nikkei (as reported in Fortune), CEO Tim Cook wants the world to switch from cash to mobile electronic payments.

“We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system,” says Cook. “We don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.”

Now look – of course the CEO of a company who has a mobile payments platform would want to drive as many people to use it as possible, and will make bold remarks like they want to kill cash. Apple gets a cut of every single Apple Pay sale, so if customers are using it, they’re profiting.

But Apple has a history of pushing people away from old technology and into the new; they’ve done it with CD drives and Flash, and are working to kill the headphone jack and even multiple USB ports.

The question becomes, however: can Apple affect how people interact in the real world, when the experience isn’t limited to how they use their technology?

Apple can remove CD drives and headphone jacks all day, but going after cash isn’t the same. It’s not like trying to influence how computer users store their files; it’s trying to make the argument that using a mobile device is more efficient or cheaper than using cash or a card.

Call me skeptical. Apple may have role in converting people to using mobile payments instead of cash, but I’m not sure they’ll move the needle.

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