We’ve all seen it in countless films and TV shows: a man (usually) with a briefcase full of banknotes on the run. It’s almost always the same aluminium model. Although the briefcase full of cash is now a cliche, it’s still a compelling image.
Cash and crime are a match made in heaven. No other payment method comes close to the sheer popularity of physical money for crimes like:
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion
- Dealing illicit goods (particularly drugs)
- Bribery and corruption
- Human trafficking and modern slavery
- Muggings, carjackings and other forms of theft
But it’s not quite as smooth as Hollywood implies: that briefcase full of $100 bills would hold 1.3 million USD and weigh almost 30 lb (12.5 kg).
So it’s not enough to live out a luxurious retirement on a private island, and it would be a pain to carry through customs. Replace 100 USD bills with a smaller denomination or another currency and it’s a lot less.
But cash is still attractive to criminals because it’s:
- Light and easy to transport — compared to other physical stores of value, like gold
- Difficult to trace — it’s hard to tell where it came from or who held it
- Anonymous — no need to give up personal information to spend small amounts of it
- Can be spent directly — doesn’t need converting or depositing to use
- Exchangeable for foreign currencies — therefore usable almost anywhere
- Sometimes available in large denominations — however, this is increasingly rare.
And of course, not all cash transactions are illegal. Yes, criminals do use other methods. Yet it’s believed going cash-free would reduce or even eliminate some forms of crime by adding a little more friction.
Take tax evasion, for example. Although it’s often associated with wealthy people with Swiss bank accounts, small amounts of cash-based income make up a big chunk of the hundreds of billions governments lose each year. The individual amounts may not seem to be much, but they add up. Without cash, governments could expect increased tax revenue.
Although few governments are talking about banning cash altogether, many are phasing out larger banknotes such as the 500 EUR and the 10,000 USD (some of which are still in circulation.) Other countries are banning large cash transactions. For example, in Spain and France, the limit is 1000 EUR, with Greece dropping theirs to 500.
This news has been published by title These Are The 3 Best Ways To Turn Coins Into Cash
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