How consumers buy things and the type of currency used has evolved over the course of time. In modern times, there is less reliance on paper money and coins and more reliance on credit cards: This is particularly true when making online purchases. Gift cards that work like credit cards that are loaded with cash are another means of buying things online. In fact, digital wallets are growing in popularity and make it easy for the online shopper to buy products and/or services with ease. Digital wallets are electronic wallets that allow for ecommerce purchases via a desktop computer or a mobile device. Let’s examine how the use of currency has changed over the course of time. Paper Money & Coins Prior to paper money & coins, societies existed and thrived on the bartering system. The introduction of cash allowed for the maintenance of an exchange rate that remained consistent, and it gave people a portable means for making an exchange. Today, cash remains popular as a means of buying things. The cons associated with its use include the fact that it is easily lost, easily stolen, and it’s impossible to buy things online with paper money & coins. Personal Checks Checks were created to offer a safer way to manage large sums of cash without having to carry around large amounts of money. A single check including the amount one was spending replaced a big wad of bills. The consumer benefitted because all they had to do was bring a checkbook and some identification along to make purchases. The cons associated with using checks include the fact that you have to pay for the checks, some checking accounts have service fees, and you have to have the cash in the bank to make purchases: If you don’t, your check bounces and you pay huge fees. Thankfully, gone are the days where one had to stand in line at the market waiting for someone to finish filling out a check and rummaging through a handbag for one’s ID. The use of credit/debit cards is eliminating the need for checks all together. [caption id= attachment_20887 align= alignleft width= 334 ] Apple Pay using Apple Watch in action[/caption] Bank Cards & Credit Cards Bank cards working as Major Credit cards if the user opts for credit use, make the need for checks obsolete. The cards are easier to tote around, as they are far lighter and smaller than a checkbook and with a single swipe of the card, an order is paid for instantly. The cards can even be used for online purchases. One con associated with the cards is that if the card is used on an ATM machine that has a card reader, the number on the card can be stolen and misused. Cryptocurrencies Virtual currency may be the wave of the future. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrenices, but this remains to be seen. The currencies fluctuate in value, sometimes dramatically so. Bitcoins are not regulated by any government or financial institution. The Digital Wallet Bandwagon Some of the biggest businesses have acknowledged the need for a safe means for making online transactions. Google established Google Wallet, and Apple has established Apple Pay. In South Korea, Samsung launched Samsung Pay. Digital Wallets are the wave of the future because of the security and convenience they provide.