A Cashless Society is On Its Way
Take a moment and think back over the past two (2) weeks of any and all purchases you made, be they a large purchase of say £20 or more, or a small purchases of just a few quid.
How did you make payment, how did you pay for your purchase?
Did you pay by cash, or did you pay by debit or credit card?
If we are to believe what is in the news, you probably paid by credit or debit card, as in 2017, credit and debit card payments exceeded the use of cash as a form of payment.
Is this the sign that a Cashless Society is on its way?
A recent report posted by the BBC states that cash is at risk of “falling apart” and experts are asking the government to step in to “ensure” coins and notes remain in use.
If the current rate of decline in the use of cash continues, we would be a cashless country by 2026. Cash would still be in some use, but for only 10% to 15% of transactions.
For many business, switching to a cashless system makes sense for them. The transactions are quicker, and it can be cheaper for the business to operate. With no cash on the premise, insurance premiums can be lower, as there is less risk of robbery.
And it is not just businesses going cashless, but also sellers of the Big Issue, buskers, and others can now accept card payments.
This begs the question, if we stop using cash, do we need cash machines or ATM’s?
Currently if you need cash you can access money in three ways:
* A free ATM
* An ATM that charges a fee
* Cash back at a store or shop
Over a year ago the largest network of free ATM’s, Link, reduced the price they charge to a bank when someone uses their ATM.
In most instances a reduction in fees seems like a good thing, but the fear is that if these lower fee cash machines are not used much, and do not generate revenue, they may be seen as not profitable, and closed.
This could leave areas of the country without cash machines, or an ATM Desert.
There are plans in place to try and avoid such an occurrence, but it is a very real subject and threat.
The Future of Cash
The cash infrastructure in Britain costs £5 billion each year to operate. So on the surface, a cashless society seems a way to save money.
However, cash has been associated with the poor, it’s a fact. Poorer people rely on the use of cash, and while hard to believe in 2019, some people still do not have bank accounts.
The future of cash will fall into the hands of the government, and regulators who oversee such matters.
Encouraging businesses to continue to accept cash, and making ways of making cash deposits safer and easier is a start. Also, keeping ATM’s alive and well is another.