As far as kids are concerned, cash is dead and smartphones are wallets

Credit: GOLFX /

Some years ago a mother was explaining to a five year old daughter why Daddy had to go away during the week. “He has to go to get cash,” said the mother. After a pause, the five year old said, “but why can’t Daddy go to the hole in the wall like everyone else?”

At the time it was an amusing anecdote, and, so we thought, a sign of the times. Little did we know.

According to a recent article on the Register, it is so much worse now. Now, kids do not even recognize money – at least not in its traditional “wad of notes” form.

Which proves that, in the long term at least, we were wrong and industry gurus such as David Birch were right. We wrote poems called Never Forsake Cash (NFV, geddit? [No. – Ed.) while Birch was busy delighting in the end of the filthy, inefficient business of handing over notes in order to be given others, along with the nice lamp for the sitting room.

For the “post Generation Z” kids (whatever we will call them – Generation A 2.0?), cash is meaningless. In fact, they instinctively reject it.

Worse (or better, let us look on the bright side) they do not equate cards – debit, credit, loyalty – with money. They do not understand the connection. To them, they are swimming in a data stream that includes “money”.

Everything is in the mobile device. Money, movies, TV, news, games, friends, family – it is all there, not in things connected to it. Certainly not in things disconnected from it.

Just as recent surveys have pointed to smartphones as being the default way that kids get online, the whole world collapses in on the device. It is, literally, becoming the remote control for life.

Whether you think this attitude to smartphones is cool, worrying or encouraging, there is a lot of work to do to make the things that are currently outside the device – money, augmented reality – an integral part of it. And quickly.

This Generation A 2.0 is just a few years from being the most demanding of customers, the young 20-year -ld.

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