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What digital money could do for you

Digital cash has the potential to help us save more, manage our money and even break the cycle of poverty for the world's poor. It's not without risks.

Robot hand holding lots of dollar notes
Getty Images

More of your money is going digital.

No, that doesn't mean cash is dying -- physical cash transactions still make up about 85 percent of retail payments worldwide. But it does mean paying bills, managing our money and buying stuff will be easier when currency is stored digitally.

Now playing: Watch this: Mobile payments are a mess. Here's why

Most critically, studies show that those benefits have the potential to break the cycle of poverty, making it easier for the world's poor to save, pay and be paid. Here at home, mobile money can help the poor avoid expensive fees for cashing checks. If you have a higher income, digital cash gives more choices -- maybe too many choices -- for how to pay for stuff, as your car, phone, watch and maybe even your lamp become new vehicles for payments.


In CNET's series "Follow the Money," we'll explore what a cashless world might look like and the many ways digital cash will reshape our lives.

We'll tell you about efforts using apps, services and new devices to give people who don't have bank accounts ways to more securely move their money around. Some of these concepts come with new risks, though, including one idea that uses volatile cryptocurrencies to offer more financial inclusion. 

We'll also look into what it's like for one man to try -- and sometimes fail -- to live a cashless life in a world that's still hooked on cash. Plus, we'll examine a handful of apps and tools you can use to track your spending, cut down on unnecessary splurges and, hopefully, save for what you really need.

We hope you find these stories informative, fun and useful.

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