Written by Umang Saini
How much cash do you spend every day?
One way to find out is to import one's bank records into a spreadsheet, search the keyword CASH and bingo. You have all the data you require to estimate cash usage. That's exactly what I did. Here are the results -
- Average daily cash spent - Rs. 143
- Average Cash withdrawn - Rs. 937
- Frequency of withdrawl - 202 times in 1330 days = 1.06 times per week
- Most common amount - Rs. 400 (to avoid Rs. 500 bills)
- Second most common amount withdrawn - Rs. 900
I share rental with 3 others, which makes the above numbers slightly inflated. I make several common payments (salaries to our Cook, Maid, News Paper, Cable, Electricity etc.). This works out roughly 25% of my expnditure. Thus we can safely reduce 18% to derive my personal dependence on cash, arriving at, average daily cash spent ~Rs. 123
Breakup (per day)
- Breakfast - Rs. 12
- Lunch - Rs. 30
- Evening snacks - Rs. 12
- Salaries (only my share) - Rs. 19 (yes, its that much only)
- Food items from (anything above Rs. 100 is usually through credit card) - Rs. 30
- Misc - Rest of All - Rs. 20 - Includes Transport, Street transactions etc.
The above values are indicators only for cash spending, while majority of my payments are done using Credit Card or online transfers.
What is the point? I hate spending Cash. I don't need to explain where this sentiment comes from. But alas, in absence of a true universal micro-payment service, there's no alternative.
The ideal technology, NFC (till recently Mifare from Phillips and FeliCa by Sony), has been available for several years now, but without any significant global penetration. There are several independent operations using NFC, but no universal one being offered. The exception to this rule is Japan, South Korea (both FeliCa) and Taiwan (MiFare). These three countries have massive deployment of contact-less micro-payment systems (mobile phones, travel cards, etc.).
Within India, Delhi Metro uses FeliCa payment cards. They simply copied the South Korean system. Bangalore public transport (BMTC) system is also close to releasing similar cards for daily travel passes.
Bottomline - Until we get a universal general purpose deployment of NFC in India, our cash component is unlikely to go down. Who'll see the sense in Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese payment systems and bring them here? My bet would be on telecom operators. They have all the reasons to make it happen (their ARPU's have tanked recently). Until then, we'll have to keep lining up at ATM, and wait for change.
p.s. - Chart's prepared using Google Chart API. You can see current deployments of NFC (MiFare and FeliCa) in their Wikipedia links.
p.s. again - Here's the chart that Excel generates (click to see enlarged image) -