Monopoly abandons the cash economy and goes contactless

No one is safe from FinTech innovation, not even board games. Everybody has spent so much time asking themselves ‘Do contactless and mobile technologies mark the end of cash?’ that they obviously forgot to ask whether those innovations will spell the end of cash in the best payments-related game – Monopoly.

That’s right, the newest iteration of the board game that’s over a century old has caught the FinTech innovation bug and deemed cash to be too cumbersome. Instead, transactions will now take place using ATMs and contactless card.

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All users have to do is tap their card on the contactless ATM when they are purchasing a property or paying/collecting rent.

 

How does this relate to the real-life world?

It is very interesting how a game aimed predominantly at children, has not only remained a highly popular game with adults, but now acts a commentary on wider social trends. The board game aficionados amongst you will be quick to point out that this isn’t actually the first time Monopoly has released a cashless version of the game with an electronic banking version first coming out in 2007.

However, the main criticism of that iteration was that typing in figures and amounts slowed everything down. The general population wanted to move away from keypads and PINs towards contactless a long time ago.

In a sense, this criticism crystallises the essence of FinTech: consumer convenience. Even in something that is an enjoyable activity, people were annoyed at the relative clunkiness and difficulty of making payments – not exactly a tiny thing in a game of Monopoly.

The lesson that should be learnt from this is that not every innovation is a sure thing, its novelty is not enough. People will be drawn to the most convenient thing. That’s why mobile is having such a tough time of it: because contactless cards are still so much more convenient and simple.

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Hasbro says the most recent update’s contactless features will speed the game up and cut down on cheating. Who would have thought that Monopoly not only would become a cashless economy, but cited as fraud as the reason for doing so.

The game was showcased at this month’s Toy Fair and is expected to be released later in the year.

Although, who knows, maybe by then we will all demand it has biometric features.

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