Money is an incredibly important part of our life. When you consider all the parts of modern-day life that you take for granted, money is one of the few things that hasn’t changed for many years. If you think about how you communicate, it has changed dramatically over a short number of years. While how you pay for things has largely remained the same. However, appearances are deceiving. In reality money, and the way we use it is always changing. It has been decided that the $20 bill will no longer show the face of Andrew Jackson, instead, it will show the face of Harriet Tubman a hero in the fight against slavery. The changing of the $20 bill has met a lot of criticism from people who want money to respect the traditions of times gone. However, this makes no sense as money is always changing.
While cash is the main form of currency in many countries that is changing. The phrase cash is king is no longer true and digital forms of payment continue to grow in popularity. In countries like Spain and Italy over 85% of transactions are still carried out using cash, in the UK and China that number is around 40% with the US at 37%. In Japan, the figure is only 14% while in New Zealand it is even lower. It is estimated that over 90% of transactions in New Zealand are carried out without cash today.
The most common form of payment in these countries is of course card. Yet that may change too. Payments using mobile phones are growing in most countries and many technology experts expect cards to be obsolete within the next decade. At the same time currencies are also changing. In the last number of years, we have seen the rise of digital currencies like bitcoin. Although none of them have taken hold yet it is again expected that currencies will shift to more digital methods in the future.
These changes are modern but there have been many changes since money was invented. When the penny first came into production in the US it did not have the powerful words ‘E Pluribus Unum’ or ‘Out of many, One’ written on them. Instead, pennies simply stated ‘Mind Your Business’. It was a design by Benjamin Franklin.
Today pennies are in threat of extinction. They cost the US treasury more to make than they are actually worth with each cent coasting 1.7 cents to make. In many countries, small counts have been taken out of circulation and all prices are rounded to the nearest 5 or 10 cent amount. The same may soon happen in the US.
Even paper money is not actually made from paper in the US. The green note is 75% cotton and 25% linen, this is what gives it that beautiful texture. The average note will take 4,000 bends before it breaks. However, we all know that a note becomes useless far earlier than when it breaks. A note will start to be refused by vending machines quickly after it is in use, although it has been shown that popping it in the microwave for 20 seconds will restore its crisp.
The average note will be taken out of circulation quickly too. A $10 note is used so frequently that it will only last around four and a half years. The $100 note lasts the longest at fifteen years.
Clearly, money is always changing. The face of Harriet Tubman replacing a slave-owning former president who was impeached and also hated the idea of paper money makes a lot of sense. Instead of being afraid of change, we should all embrace it, especially when it is so clearly a good decision.