IELTS® Listening Practice 39

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a discussion between a student and a tutor about cashless payments. First, you will have some time to look at questions 24 to 32 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 24 to 32.)



T: Good morning, everybody. I hope you're all ready for Mickey's presentation on cashless payments. Are you ready, Mickey? Over to you.

M: Yes, I'm ready. Thanks.

T: So, what exactly are cashless payments? How do they work and how much do people actually use them?

M: Well, it feels like we've been hearing about the cashless economy for a long time now – many people say that they don't need notes and coins any more, because they can use cards to pay for shopping, tickets, food etc – everything you need, really. But recently mobile payment systems have become available to anyone who uses a smartphone, so we're a lot closer to not needing notes or coins to pay than we used to be. In fact, payments made using mobile phones are expected to reach $721.4 billion worldwide this year, as more and more customers discover how easy it is to pay for things with their smartphones.

T: And is this a positive trend, in general?

M: Well, like everything, there are advantages and disadvantages for both customers and for society as a whole. Whatever you think of the trend, it's not likely to reverse course anytime soon. We can't turn back the clock. The main advantage is that it's easier. It's easier for retailers – shops, cafes, cinemas etc. And it's easier for us as consumers.

T: Tell us more about the advantages.

M: Well, the most obvious benefit is ease. Most of us already walk around with smartphones in our hands for most of the day. They're more accessible than our wallets and, unlike credit and debit cards, they are quick to use at the checkout line. There's no need to enter a code, and of course, no danger that you will forget your code either. Also, it's a very modern way to pay.

T: And what about benefits to the retailers?

M: Well, retailers can also benefit from cashless systems because having less physical cash - notes and coins - on the premises means having less to lose if there is a robbery.

T: Right. And what about the disadvantages? What are they? 

M: The main disadvantage is privacy – or lack of it. Cashless payments are easier to track, which raises privacy issues for consumers and security issues for companies that collect payment data. Cyber security threats like identity theft and fraud are also a greater concern with cashless transactions

T: Mmm. That's a serious issue. But there's also something that I worry about with cashless payments – there are some people who just won't use them. Older people, for example, or people who don't have bank accounts. I think they will be disadvantaged if there isn't the option to use cash.  

M: You're right. This is another big issue. As society goes cashless, the divide between rich and poor, those who have bank accounts and smart phones and those who don't, becomes bigger. Those who don't have - are unable to participate. There are already many shops that don't take cash at all and, of course, people who don't have a cash card or a smartphone can't use those shops. This situation will only get worse and it is one of the societal challenges that we have to deal with if we choose to move to a cashless society. 

T: Well, thank you, Mark, for that overview of cashless payments… that was really interesting. Now let's move on to…

Hi, there!

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