Cashless technology growing in popularity bringing convenience and the potential for disparities

Closeup of a hand holding phone and scanning QR code. [Auttapol Tatiyarat/Shutterstock]
Closeup of a hand holding phone and scanning QR code. [Auttapol Tatiyarat/Shutterstock]
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Cedar Point welcomed guests back to the amusement park last weekend when it opened for the 2022 season.  One of the biggest changes visitors will notice at the park this year is that it is completely cashless. This means guests will pay for transactions in the park with credit or debit cards or through a mobile platform such as Apple or Google pay.

For those guests without access to those options, the park will provide kiosks that will enable them to convert cash into a pre-loaded Visa card.

The move away from using hard currency has been coming as technology has evolved.  It got a boost with the pandemic and the shift towards contactless forms of payment both as a matter of convenience and risk avoidance due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus. Here in Cleveland Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse uses cashless payment options as part of its continuing health and safety protocols.

But as with every technology there are two sides. Despite the convenience, cashless technology also presents the potential to create disparity and leave some behind.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or FDIC, more than seven million U-S households did not have access to a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union account in 2019.

Sweden is on the fast track to be fully cashless.  It anticipates doing so less than a year from now in March of 2023. 

We are going to talk about what it means to go cashless and what that means for hard currency such as dollars and coins.
 

Later in the show, the City of Cleveland is moving forward with its effort to remove low-level marijuana cases from the records of thousands of people.  The Bibb administration announced the move with last month, posing with boxes of files in cases impacting more than 4000 people and stretching back to 2017.

But the initial strategy for the city initiating the expungement process has been reworked because Ohio law requires the individual to make the expungement requests themselves.

And is facial recognition technology currently available to  Cleveland police? Public records and a recent comment from a city official suggested that is the case, although it is unclear whether that tech is being used. The Cleveland Community Police Commission is calling for greater transparency and oversight of surveillance technology within the city.

And the momentum toward the construction a new Cuyahoga County jail has slowed down.

Guests: 

Lakshmi Balasubramanyan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Banking and Finance, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University 
Tyler Buchanan, Reporter, Axios Columbus 
Matt Richmond, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media 
Kabir Bhatia, Senior Reporter, WKSU, Ideastream Public Media
Bette Lou Higgins, Author, "Lost Restaurants of Downtown Cleveland" 
 

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