A cashless society
There is nothing worse than fumbling around in your pocket trying to find some small change to pay for a newspaper or a coffee. So it's good to know that new technology is making cash - banknotes and coins - a thing of the past, turning us into a cashless society.
Today, many of us already use credit and debit cards for financial transactions so there's no need to carry around huge wads of hard currency. And now it's possible to make contactless payments using tap-and-go cards which are regular bankcards but with a built-in chip and antenna. The card reader sends out a radio frequency and, when you bring the card close to the reader, the antenna picks up the signal to make the payment.
Paying this way or spending on 'plastic' - an informal name for a credit card - can put you at risk of fraud. Criminals try to steal cards, or the information on them, to make purchases online or in shops. However, contactless payment is capped - in the UK the limit is ￡30. And, if someone does go on a spending spree with your card, your bank covers you against the loss - something that wouldn't happen if your banknotes were stolen. Also, the introduction of chip and PIN technology has led to a drop in fraud and has even been helping businesses by cutting the time people spend at tills in shops.
But, if getting your bankcard out seems like too much trouble, there's now a solution using wearable tech - that's clothing and accessories that include computer and electronic technologies. Kenneth Cukier, economist and technology expert, says "this is intended for people who are incredibly lazy who don't want to take their card out of their wallet, or use their phone, or use their watch. People are going to be making more purchases more of the time - particularly for small-valued goods."
And, although our mobile phones are another way of making payments, BBC reporter Kate Russell says that when this is inconvenient you can use the fingo-pay system which "reads the unique maps of veins under the surface of your finger." The trick is remembering which finger you registered with - that's when good old-fashioned cash might save the day! What do you prefer to use when you buy something?
chip and PIN