Welcome to GBO’s research on Cash Versus eMoney. In this study, we will be taking a closer look at the different types of eMoney and comparing them to Cash.


The advantages and disadvantages of cash and eMoney can change based on the area and particular use case. The acceptance and tangible part might vary from one kind of eMoney to another because some of it can be utilized as a physical card or in other ways.


Although both cash and digital money can be used to complete transactions, there are several key distinctions between the two. Digital money, commonly referred to as e-money or electronic money, is a digital representation of cash that may be saved on a device, such as a smartphone or a computer. Cash is an actual currency in the form of paper bills and coins. The method by which money is utilized and exchanged is one of the key distinctions between cash and digital currency. Cash exchanges can be made instantly and physically, which allows for the holding and trading of the actual currency.


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    Overview Cash Versus eMoney

    Last update 14.1.2023


    Comparing the pros and cons of cash and eMoney

    Cash eMoney
    Pros Immediate and tangible, physical cash can be held and exchanged in person Convenient and easy to use, electronic money can be easily transferred and stored digitally
      Widely accepted, cash can be used in most places as a form of payment Can be easily transferred, electronic money can be quickly sent to other people through digital platforms
      Can be used without access to electricity or internet, cash does not rely on electricity or internet access to be used Can be easily tracked, electronic transactions can often be tracked and recorded for security and financial tracking
      Anonymous transactions, cash transactions do not require personal information to be exchanged Can be protected through password or PIN, electronic money can often be protected through added security measures such as password or pin
    Cons Can be lost or stolen, cash can be taken without the owner's knowledge or consent Requires access to electricity and internet, electronic money relies on electricity and internet access to be used
      Not traceable, cash transactions cannot be tracked easily, making it difficult to trace or recover in case of loss or theft Can be hacked or stolen, electronic money can be vulnerable to hacking or theft if not properly protected
      Not practical for large transactions, cash can be cumbersome and logistically difficult to use for large transactions Not accepted everywhere, electronic money may not be accepted in all places, particularly in rural or underdeveloped areas.
      Prone to counterfeiting, cash can be counterfeited, which can lead to financial losses Limited tangible aspect, electronic money can not be held in the hand or used in places where electronic payments are not possible

    Digital money is not tangible and is frequently transmitted electronically through digital channels. Additionally, cash transactions are often private and do not call for the sharing of personal information, whereas digital money transactions are frequently traceable and do. In most places, cash transactions are accepted and can be used as a method of payment. Digital money, on the other hand, may not be accepted everywhere, especially in rural or underdeveloped areas, and it needs access to energy and the internet.


    Will Cash Survive?

    Already credit cards introduced in the 50’s, debit cards in the 60’s and more recently mobile payments have threatened the survival of cash. Still a report in 2018 showed that cash is still used for 30% of payments made in the US. Older people, lower-income people, those less technically minded and those making low-value transactions are more likely to rely on cash. Younger, middle-to-upper income and technically adept people look for the more convenient and faster use of emoney. Mainstream financial systems holding physical cash may have an advantage over emoney by being able to offer attractive services and financial products. These financial institutions need to be aware of the threat emoney poses and be prepared for the disruption virtual banking may cause to the traditional banking world. The new players, disrupters and challenges could one day replace traditional banks. To survive banks will have to alter their business model as digital monies increasingly threaten to replace them.


    When and How will eMoney Dominate Finance?

    eMoney is a little like a private investment fund where you’re guaranteed to get your deposited funds back at face value in the future. This comes with some risk as you rely on the issuer to be able to pay out the required sum when you want to redeem your funds. Before we can do away with paper money and coins there are social issues that need to change.  There are many benefits and disadvantages to going cashless. For the unbankable and bankless, low-income and older generation it will be extremely difficult. How do you give a beggar on the street a few pennies with emoney, or pocket money to a young child or buy from a pop-up country market? Although there will be lower crime involving stealing cash let’s not forget cybercrime and the possibility of theft of digital “cash.” Money-laundering will probably find a way to continue without physical cash.

    Pros and Cons of eMoney Replacing Cash


    1. More convenient in many ways than cash
    2. Storing and depositing funds becomes less time consuming
    3. Handling of emoney is more cost effective than managing hard cash – less man power is needed, less time and less effort.
    4. When traveling currency exchange becomes effortless in a digital emoney world
    5. Criminal tax evasion will be near to impossible if all funds are digital and trackable.
    6. Transactions anytime, anywhere.
    7. Reduced transaction costs.



    1. People still doubt the long-term stability of digital money.
    2. Personal data can be exposed and breached.
    3. Hackers could drain your digital bank account.
    4. Technical problems could shut down access to accounts.
    5. Low-income, bankless, unbankable and elder customers will find it difficult, if not impossible to manage with emoney digital accounts and payments.
    6. Low-value transactions are more convenient with cash for most people.
    7. Controlling spending may be harder if you don’t see the physical cash slipping through your fingers.
    8. Banks may dramatically increase the cost of their services to compensate for loss of clientele.


    Cash and eMoney Solutions

    eMoney providers could be given access to central bank reserves, or partner with emoney providers to provide central bank digital currency – a digital version of cash. This would have to be done under strict conditions as it would involve risks. In the future we may see Stablecoin, social messaging app payments and digital tokens backed by a safe asset like US Treasury bills become common payment methods. We may not be quite ready for a cashless society and for digital funds to completely replace cash but we seem to be moving in that direction. As innovations continue we can already see the writing on the wall that emoney, in some form will one day replace paper money. We still may see a cash-less society in the future but probably not for a while. Emoney and cash will most likely share the financial arena for quite some time.


    Today cash and emoney are the two most common means of payment although there are competitors that might one day become an even more common currency. The value of electronically stored emoney is dependent on the value of physical currency like Euro or USD and cash is dependent on remaining relevant in an ever changing, more technical and virtual environment.

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