How to profit from the cashless society

Credit: Mighty Travels

Countries around the world are slowly turning into cashless societies. That means paying for everything with credit and debit cards as opposed to coins and notes.

This is a good change for most people involved. The government doesn’t have to create so many coins or notes. We don’t lose coins in the sofa or drop them out of our wallets. And criminals or dodgy businesses can’t get away with trading in cash.

There is one loser though, as any business owner may know, every time a purchase goes through with a card the business is charged a small fee.

Most of these fees end up being paid to either Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) because they provide the EFTPOS machine.

The Indian government has just announced that it will discontinue two of the biggest denominations of bank note. The 500 and 1,000 rupee (equivalent to $10 and $20) will be discontinued immediately, without any warning. The Indian government also shut all banks the following day.

In India there is a widespread distrust of bank cards and there’s a large black market. A large amount of transactions are done through cash rather than a bank account or credit card. The main winners from the forced move towards cashless payments will be the Indian government, where a lot of the untaxed black market can now be taxed.

Visa and MasterCard may also be big winners, especially considering the size of India’s population.

Both Visa and Mastercard have grown revenue, profits and dividends significantly over the past several years as more transactions are done through their cards.

Of course, Visa and MasterCard aren’t listed on the ASX. So how can we profit from the Indian government’s decision and the cashless society as a whole, aside from buying shares in Visa and Mastercard directly?

There is one Australian listed investment company (LIC) that has a large stake in both Visa and MasterCard.

Magellan Capital Investments Ltd (ASX: MFF) is a LIC operated by Magellan Fund Group Ltd (ASX: MFG), which runs some of the most popular overseas-focused managed funds. The funds are popular because they have performed so well.

On 14 October 2016, Visa comprised 12.7% of Magellan Capital Investments’ portfolio and MasterCard was 10.3%. This means that combined the two card companies make up 23% of the portfolio. I think this LIC is a great way to leverage off the growth of cashless transactions in India, Australia and around the world.

Foolish takeaway

Magellan Capital Investments is currently trading with a grossed up dividend yield of 1.57% which should be maintained as it’s paid the same annual dividend per share of $0.02 since 2012.

Just because some of the most exciting businesses are listed overseas doesn’t mean it’s not possible to invest in them via an alternative investment such as a LIC.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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