On the streets and in the shops of Singapore, a distinct smell is slowly disappearing. But it’s not a food or pollutant that’s being phased out.
It is the smell of cold, hard cash — both coin and paper. The Singaporean government has led a years-long charge to eliminate the use of cash from everyday lives, and on most fronts, it appears to have been successful.
But one place that the cashless economy has yet to fully penetrate is households. In particular, one group of people has been left behind. They are the people who live with and work for so many of us: domestic workers.
A particularly outdated process is the continued use of cash for household expenses. Perhaps due to not trusting helpers with our personal cards (or perhaps by complete oversight), most people still hand over a wad of cash to their helpers when it is time for them to head to the grocery store or the dry cleaner. The cash is spent, and change and a receipt manually returned and accounted for. Such a system would be unthinkable for us in our own lines of work — imagine a banker being handed cash by their HR department for lunch. Why then, when we are exposed to such efficient systems at work, do we keep such outdated systems at home?
The answer may be a phenomenon known as domain specificity. It’s the same thing that leads financial planners to make poor decisions with their own money, and doctors to take up smoking cigarettes. When our work hats come off and we unwind at home, so do we forget the useful lessons we may have learned there.
One company that is trying to break this barrier and bring more peace to our daily lives is a startup called JiPay. The company has developed the JiPay Expense Card, which is essentially a corporate card for the household. The card is loaded via a linked app, which also sends transaction alerts and spending reports. If you are finding that managing the household is stressing you out this holiday season, it may be just what you needed. After all, you deserve the same ease and efficiency in your home life that you get when eating lunch on your own employer’s dime.