Cash and burn

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Welcoming a world without cold hard cash

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 23, 2015

With the ubiquity of credit cards and mobile payment, fewer and fewer people are carrying cash with them on a daily basis. I barely ever carry cash around, just a couple of bills in case of an emergency—like if a hot dog stand doesn’t accept debit. Aside from that, I rely mostly on my cards and mobile device to pay for my purchases. If suddenly cash ceased to exist, I don’t believe it would affect me much.

In a way, I believe cash will inevitably become obsolete, the same way gold coins at a market can only get you odd looks. Cash, after all, costs money to make, which is a paradox worth some time pondering. In a 2014 poll conducted by Leger Marketing, 56 per cent of Canadians reported that they would be happy to never touch money again and only use digital wallets. If you are currently relying predominantly on cash, it’s a probably a good time to start implementing a more modern way of payment. After all, the new way is more organized, it’s more accessible, and it’s even cleaner.

Relying on another form of payment aside from cash is a reliable way of keeping track of funds. Payment and banking innovations have changed the way people handle money. Instead of having a roll of fat cash in your pocket or a stack of bills in your wallet, you’ll just have a number. No more miscounting or miscalculations. There will come a day when we will never have to fumble with change to tip our server or board the bus. It’ll simply be taken off your credit, tab, or account.

Security is a still a prime concern for those engaging in digital payment. In a cashless world, frauds, privacy infringements, and identity theft will be ever-present crimes. There is no reason to be afraid of such an incident as long as we are responsible. Muggings and robbery have been happening for ages, in every form of currency from coins to chickens. Crime is a natural part of the system, and the security infrastructure currently in place is as dependable as any infrastructure to protect a person’s valuables.

We are approaching the world without cash. Maybe it won’t happen this decade, but if trends are to continue we will be relying on the dollar bills less and less. We will be buying stuff with cards, tokens, codes, and whatever else our smartphone utilizes. Our money will always be in our control, but how we interact with it is changing. Social media is a now a payment transaction vehicle. I’m ready for it. It’s going to make spending easier, and for those who hate shopping, like me, I’m eager to get what I want without thumbing through my hard-earned money.

Get Control Of Your Business With the Hootsuite of Mobile Payments

In a global economy where everyone and everything is here and there, Vancouver-based Control places the control back into the hands of the business managers with mobile payment access and upgraded analytic tools.

“We’re seeing all these new types of payment methods in the market,” said Kathryn Loewen, CEO and co-founder of Control, “but one of the commonality amongst all of them is that they are all moving toward open standards.”

Bitcoin, Dwolla, Apply Pay and credit card processors such as Stripe and Paymill have changed the way businesses operate. And as many as 70% of those finance managing companies have chosen an open protocol, which when integrated with Control will offer their users a more diverse payment managing experience.

Loewen added: “People have called us the HootSuite of payments.”

HootSuite capitalized on their success because they were able to build business applications on top of the Twitter API. At one point, Facebook tried to purchase the social media management dashboard and make them the primary dashboard for Facebook, but Hootsuite declined the offer, knowing that the bigger opportunity comes by connecting to every platform.

Control is doing what Hootsuite did for content developers, social media coordinators, etc. and is applying that model to payment stacks for businesses. And like Hootsuite, Control is “platform agnostic,” which is one of the reasons why they have integrated so well with numerous online payment companies such as Stripe.

Stripe’s easy merchant onboarding makes it simple for users to sign up and for businesses to freely access their API. It was Stripe’s push toward this open API model that shifted the momentum of the industry. Even PayPal—a traditionally closed platform—who’ve spent many years enjoying their monopoly are now participating in this open-data economy.

Moreover, the high demand for quality analytic tools adds another valued element to Control. The same way Hootsuite built better analytics than Twitter, Control refined that aspect for payment platforms.

“We’re solving two problems: Online business managers—who start using Stripe or PayPal to manage their business—they are still dealing with the fact that they are using different platforms or different dashboards to manage all those different payment methods,” said Loewen, “and also, no good mobile app exist for those payment platforms.”

Although any merchant or business manager can benefit from Control, the most prevalent users are those that run a SAAS, online or global business, which requires the business managers to be somewhat like “modern nomads.” The ability to manage transaction activities directly from the mobile app, while they are on the go, will ease workflow, improve customer service and be more vigilant against fraud through mobile payment.

“Our target market may have a checkout that’s optimized for mobile, they might not, it doesn’t really matter,” said Loewen. “What we really care about is helping them manage their business better.”

Control’s iOS and Android apps are now integrated with Stripe, in addition to being the first Paymill app in Europe. Currently Control is building the control board for the web-based analytics and preparing to launch beta within the next month. By the end of the 2014 Control will go live anywhere Stripe is available as well as targeting the 9 million PayPal merchants across the globe.