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Want to help the poor? Take their money

Want to help the poor? Take their money

Boris Sullivan

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More specifically, cash — coins and paper bills are the silent enemy of the poor, with costs often out of proportion with their day-to-day convenience.

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On one level, it’s ridiculous to think of cash as problematic; if you have a mountain of paper money, you aren’t exactly impoverished. And at times cash seems like exactly what we need. Saying “yes” to cash can seem like saying “no” to overspending and steering clear of big banks, which means saying “no” to credit-card debt, overdraft fees and Big Brother.

Want to help the poor? Take their money

Want to help the poor? Take their money

In the age of zeroes-happy bank bailouts and household credit-card debt on the order of $800 billion, cash stands for individual empowerment and no-nonsense finances. Right?

So what’s the solution? You probably have one in your pocket. By 2014, about 90% of all adults in the world will have a mobile phone. Technology companies have already shown that you don’t need the latest, flashiest model to send and receive money as easily as a text message and that you can remotely — and securely — access a bank account from the cheapest sort of handheld. Mobile technology will enable the poor to keep their money in the same form that you keep most of your money: digital. Not tomorrow, but soon enough, passing someone a bunch of banknotes or a clinking handful of coins will seem as dated as using a pay phone.
Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/05/22/how-cash-keeps-poor-people-poor/?xid=newsletter-asia-weekly#ixzz1w9zN24KV

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