The Future of Cash Part 2: Implications of the Underground Economy

In our previous post, we discussed the future of cash as it relates to millennials and digital payment methodologies. There is another key component shaping the future of cash, and that’s the unbanked and underbanked population.

General estimates are that about 13% of the US GDP can be attributed to the underground economy. That’s nearly $1.3 trillion. And, we’re not talking about illegal activities, we’re talking about fundamental services and small businesses where cash transactions are the main source of payment.

There is approximately 30% of the US population that exists in terms of unbanked or underbanked. In other words, they have no formal banking relationship. As a consequence, this creates a huge amount of extra cash in circulation, cash that needs to be moved around, deposited, transferred and withdrawn.

And, increasingly for individuals it comes down to what is the most convenient point of access for a cash transaction? Typically, it’s been the banking branch, however what we see moving forward is that it won’t necessarily be a bank branch, it may still be a financial institution, but in an unconventional setting.

Likewise, where we have typically seen ATMs in places like grocery stores, coffee shops and gas stations, we see those types of retail financial venues becoming much more sophisticated in the types of transactions they can handle in order to better serve this underbanked population.

The industry is coming to a crossroads where purpose-built retail machines and the industry’s most advanced technology for Financial Institutions are becoming one ecosystem. And, as the industry leader, Hyosung is uniquely positioned to merge these two worlds together into the type of financial access solution that consumers will be looking forward to in the future as being their most convenient touchpoint to conduct a financial transaction.