3 Ways To Profit From A Cashless Society

An image of a stock chart with money, a calculator and a pen lying on it. Credit: Shutterstock photo

They're coming for your money... And whether you like it or not, they're going to get it. Worse, there's nothing you can do about it.

The federal government is going after criminals that use large bills for illicit activities like selling drugs and funding global terrorism. To do this, they're going to eliminate cash. And much sooner than anyone expects.

But the big losers in this trend are private citizens. By forcing individuals to go cashless, the government gets unprecedented access to our personal affairs. Electronic purchases create a hard record of every financial transaction -- and Big Brother sees everything. Worse, big data-collection companies will also have unlimited access to your every financial move.

Think a first-world society wouldn't go for this? They already have...

Cash constituted just 2% of all payments in Sweden in 2015, according to Sweden's central bank. Over half of the country's bank branches no longer keep currency on hand or take cash deposits. More surprisingly, most bank branches no longer have ATMs!

So don't be surprised to find that in less than five years, money as you know it will be a thing of the past. Instead, Americans will carry just one thing: their mobile phones. It's the unstoppable trend that nobody is talking about.

So the real question is how we can get out ahead of this megatrend and profit from it. Here are three ways to get on board.

1. Look To China

Few people know that China created the world's first circulating currency -- about 700 years before Sweden first issued a European currency in 1661. Today, Sweden and China are again at the forefront of a currency revolution. But China, by its sheer size, will dominate the transition.

Most people in major Chinese cities don't carry cash or credit cards. Like the Swedish, they buy everything from their smartphone. But don't misunderstand. Rather than using the phone itself, they use an app on their phone to do everything. The app is like having Facebook, PayPal, text messaging, and voice communication all in a single app.

The app is WeChat. It has a user base of more than 700 million in China -- twice the population of the U.S. And the value of WeChat is massive. In fact, many analysts believe the company that owns WeChat, Tencent Holdings ( TCEHY ) , will become the largest company in the world in the next five years.

That's because the average person in China can do everything without ever leaving WeChat. And get this: the average WeChat user is on the app for more than 90 minutes every day.

Tencent absolutely dominates China's social networks. But its reach goes beyond that. Tencent is also the world's leader in electronic gaming, based on sales. And gaming continues to be the company's largest growth engine. Tencent is already the world's 11th-biggest company.

And it's growing fast. Analysts' revenue estimates through 2020 show an average growth rate of 29.5% per year as revenues more than double to $63.7 billion. Simply put, growth investors must have a position in Tencent.

2. Look To The USA

China isn't the only country on the cutting edge of mobile payments. While they are significantly ahead of the United States in mobile payment processing, the U.S. will be bigger on a transaction basis by far.

Best of all, it offers the safest, and easiest, option for investing for this megatrend in the United States. Investors should consider the PureFunds ISE Mobile Payments Fund (NYSE: IPAY ) .

IPAY is simply the safest and most diversified way to ride this trend. The trend is just gathering steam in the United States and it's too early to know who will be the biggest players in the industry.

But with IPAY, we don't have to know the biggest players. It doesn't matter whether a person is using an Apple iPhone or an Android. It doesn't matter which bank a person uses. At the end of the day, the major credit-card companies -- particularly Visa and MasterCard -- process all of these mobile payments.

And that's why IPAY is the best bet in the U.S. IPAY's top holdings are exactly what they should be...

So, if my research is correct, mobile pay will explode in the United States in the next couple of years and IPAY will soar in value. Plan to hold shares for the long run (five years or more).

3. Look To The World

Euronet Worldwide (Nasdaq: EEFT ) is everywhere. It has 61 offices in 41 countries and is primed to take advantage of the megatrend in mobile payments. But the company also has an ace up its sleeve.

Euronet recently bid nearly $1 billion for MoneyGram. That deal will double Euronet's revenues and make the company a major player globally.

While the deal hasn't been finalized yet, it looks good. The only other competing offer is an $880 million offer from Ant Financial in China. But it's unlikely the Ant deal will pass regulatory muster via the Trump White House. Plus, it's an inferior offer on the surface.

That leaves Euronet Worldwide as a beneficiary of the global trend in mobile payments.

Hold these stocks for huge profits, but don't forget to pay your taxes on the gains. The government will know…

Risks To Consider: The government has other nefarious reasons to transition to a cashless society -- such as the ability to take interest rates negative should it feel the need to do so. This means the transition to cashless is fraught with political danger. While the belief is that such legislation would be passed, it won't be without controversy.

Action To Take: Buy shares of Tencent Holdings up to $33 per share. Use a $15 hard stop-loss.

Buy shares of IPAY up to $29 a share. Use a 15% trailing stop on the shares.

Buy shares of Euronet Worldwide up to $88. Use a $60 hard stop.

Commit no more than 2% of your portfolio to any one holding. The holding period for all of these securities is five years.

Editor's Note: America's most successful tech investors are getting ready to make MILLIONS off 2017's virtual reality breakthroughs. But they're not investing in what you think ...

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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