Can Anger Push Mobile Payment Adoption?

  • JJ Hornblass
  • February 15, 2012
  • 2

What’s going to trigger mobile payment adoption? Better use cases? Better pricing?

How about Occupy Wall Street-worthy anger?

That seems to be the angle being playing by the No Cash Day 2012 campaign that seems to be sputtering to life.

No Cash Day will purportedly take place on June 21. On that date, conscientious citizens will rely solely on digital currency rather than cash “because notes and coins are expensive, falsifiable, dirty, polluting and promote evasion,” according to the effort’s Facebook page. The fact that digital currency can also be falsified does not seem to matter much. So far 184 people say they will participate in No Cash Day.

The effort appears to have sprouted from Italy. Apparently — and I haven’t been able to confirm this — the Italian Ministry of Economic Development spurred the first No Cash Day last year. This year, Italy again is taking the lead, with most of the expected participants to date located there. But the idea seems to be bleeding to other countries with expected no-cashers in Russian and France, among other locations. A key media driver for the event is the War on Cash website.

We talk about “class wars” and “Occupy Anything” here in this nation, and generally these political ideas are an anathema to traditional banking. No Cash Day, however, seems to tap into that spirit to the general advancement of a key banking innovation — whether you agree with the political idea or not. With mobile payment adoption a half-step behind expectations today, a little spirit might just help move things along.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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2 thoughts on “Can Anger Push Mobile Payment Adoption?

  1. JJ, Good points and a great conversation starter. Webster defines innovation as “a new idea, method or device.” I think we need new ideas in banking and finance now more than ever. Furthermore, the 10 new startups referenced in the Netbanker post are not banks, they are small, scrappy firms looking to help consumers keep track of their spending and manage their personal debt more intelligently. Great ideas for these times…or any time for that matter. Certainly 10 companies is too many, but as Scott points out, that’s how the entrepreneurial process works.
    Full disclosure, my company, Online Banking Report, puts on the Finovate Conference and I wrote the Netbanker article referenced above.

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