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Digital Payments

May 18, 2022

 

Our English lesson today is about digital payments. This is a fascinating topic, and there is no doubt that over the next few years, economists like you will see a lot of experimentation with different kinds of digital payment options. There will be successes, and there will be failures. There will be winners, and there will be losers. And of course, while all this is going on, there will be a lot of discussions as experts share information and decision-makers try to find the best solution for their particular needs.

So, what are some of the English words you need to know to join that discussion in English?  Here are a few to get you started.

 

Digital Payment: A digital payment, sometimes called an electronic payment, is the transfer of money from one payment account to another using a digital device like a mobile phone. Money is moved between payment accounts, which are not necessarily bank accounts. Digital payment.

Digital wallet: A digital wallet, also known as an e-wallet, is the system or program where you store your digital money. You can access a digital wallet with your mobile phone. You might use a leather wallet to carry your cash, but you use a digital wallet to keep your digital money. Physical wallet, digital wallet.

Unbanked: People not served by a bank or financial institution. Unbanked.

Financial inclusion: Having access to financial services, like a savings account, a loan or an insurance policy. Financial inclusion.

Data breach: An event when information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system's owner. When a computer hacker breaks into the system and steals information, that is a data breach.

Pros and Cons: The arguments for and against something. You can also say “upside/downside”. Pros and Cons.

 

Now here is some listening practice.  Listen carefully.

 

The range of new digital payment options is broad, and it is expanding quickly. At this time, we are seeing different experiments in countries all over the world.  Nobody knows for sure what the future will bring as these digital payment systems continue to evolve, but, one thing does seem certain: most are moving away from the physical cash status quo.  

Today, I would like to recommend an excellent article published recently in the Economist Magazine called “Digital Payments Have Gone Viral in Brazil”.  The article discusses how the traditional way of wiring money from bank to bank, or from buyer to seller, is being displaced by a new digital payment systems that give users the ability to move money quickly, 24/7, for free or at a very low cost.

The article describes the pros and cons of a system that was implemented in Brazil. The instant-payment system, called Pix, has been very successful –– and more than 2/3 of adult Brazilians have now used it to move money, especially to make small payments between individuals.

What is the upside of this digital payment system? Well, many of Brazil’s unbanked citizens have now joined the platform, and banks see this as an important first step to being able to offer them financial services.  The use of digital payments also helped banks reduce their use of banknotes, and by banknotes, I mean paper money. After all, moving and protecting paper money, from place to place, can be expensive.

The downside? Well, providing everyone with immediate and convenient access to their money created an opportunity for criminals, too, who began to kidnap their victims temporarily and force them to transfer money their digital wallets. This negative impact was later partly solved by limiting transaction amounts at night.

 

Well, that’s all for today’s English lesson.

I encourage you to read the article for yourself to learn about Brazil’s experience. By the way, the article in the Economist magazine was published with an audio version that you can use to listen along as you read the text. As you might expect from the Economist magazine, the narrator of the article speaks with a British accent. That’s good listening practice, too. https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2022/05/14/digital-payments-have-gone-viral-in-brazil

That’s all for now. I look forward to making the next lesson for you, and I encourage you to keep studying and keep learning. This is Alan Robert with English for Economists –– see you next week!

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