/ Money

Mark Carney: Let’s decide the future of money

Does cash hold a place in the future of money or are digital transactions now king? Our guest author Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, wants to know your thoughts.

Money is evolving. So is the way we pay for things, the financial services we use and how we keep the financial system safe.

Bank notes are in the process of moving from paper to polymer, and for many people payment by plastic card is the norm these days.

We’ve seen the rise of contactless payments and even the emergence of crypto-currencies. These changes have implications for consumers. They also matter a lot to us here at the Bank of England.

We print bank notes, we process payments, and we keep your money secure by ensuring that banks and the financial system as a whole are resilient.

Changing payments

Understanding how people use their money and how they feel about changing trends in money and digitisation in financial services more broadly is really important to us.

That’s why we set up Future Forum: the Bank’s first virtual event where we’re asking consumers to talk to us about anything concerning the future of money.

We want to hear what you think about cash, contactless payments, the service you get from banks and building societies, and much else besides.

Perhaps you’ve signed up to the Which? ‘Save Our Cashpoints’ campaign and want to tell the Bank why access to cash through these facilities is so important to you.

Or you might have signed the Which? Action on Scams campaign because you have concerns about the risks associated with bank transfers and new forms of cybercrime. You can share your experiences with others on the Future Forum.

Cash question

Future Forum isn’t about navigating to the end of the road for cash. Bank notes will remain an important form of payment for many years to come.

But new forms of payment are becoming ever more common. And, as we look to the future, we want to know what this could mean for you, whether you’re young or old or whether you live in a city or a rural area.

Our Future Forum will be here until January 2019 and some of those people who are most active on the platform will be invited to a roundtable event with our Governors.

Many of us will be taking part in live Q&A sessions on the platform over the coming weeks, so please register now so that you can take part in these conversations.

This is a guest post by Mark Carney. All views expressed are Mark’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.

What do you think about the future of money? Do you think there’s still a place for cash – or do you pay for everything on plastic?

Cheryl says:
10 December 2018

Bruce is so right, how would my neighbour pay me for the little shopping I do, how could I put some “money in the collection tin”, how culd I give to some of the local homeless without cash No No No No I agree with an earlier comment about being out in the sticks, no mobile signal and certainly very slow and unreliable broadband small businesses will not be able to cope without cash, Long may it live, coins of the realm, how dare the “rich and powerful” even consider taking away our livlihoods from us poorer people.

Robert Jones says:
10 December 2018

Coin meters, launderettes, gym and swimming pool lockers, etc all take coins, it would be very expensive and a considerable logistical effort to convert them all. Charities find donations of loose change an important source of revenue. Small traders such as taxi drivers have to pay a substantial overhead for their relatively low amount of transactions.

Mike Sawyer says:
10 December 2018

Vynor Hill is so right, much of the perception is that it is an age matter, but that is only a small (but for many of us, an extremely important/occasionally essential) part of a story of lost bank branches and ATM’s that make access to cash more difficult, especially to those with the poorest mobility/access to transport.
To illustrate the charity issue, in Banstead Village we have just collected over £51,000 for the Poppy Appeal, almost £50,000 in cash and the rest in cheques. How would this be possible without general use of cash? Card readers are very convenient for retail purposes, but we had over 500 collecting cans and nearly 200 collectors. Card readers for all of them? I don’t think so. If our efforts are significantly reduced, who will pick up the shortfall? The government or the Banks? Dream on!
And this is multiplied thousands of times to include all the British Legion branches, and then by hundreds or thousands of times to include all the other charities. The scale of charity cash reliance is grossly under-estimated by the commercial and Banking world, and probably by government. In the name of commonsense and of Charity, keep the cash and cheques rolling!

Jim Hawkins says:
10 December 2018

Cash is King, if you pay for drinks in a pub, your pound coins are not going to be scanned and you don’t wake up next morning with a large debit account.
There are many small charities that rely on cash and cheques and don’t have the expertise of facilities to do internet banking.

brian yeomans says:
11 December 2018

Cash is much easier for me ,i d,ont have to check though that pile of reciets at the end of month ,just one withdrawal cash from the bank and check my direct debits and any cheque payments,life can be made simple.

Angus says:
11 December 2018

With cash it’s simple, I know exactly how much I have to spend, when it’s done its done. Easier to manage my spending. With plastic it’s more difficult to keep track and easier to overspend. We as a country have amongst the highest levels of personal debt in the world. This is the result of credit cards and people buying today without thinking about their ability to repay. That can’t happen with cash.

DerekP says:
11 December 2018

I agree that using cash helps us to avoid buying stuff we don’t need with money we haven’t got.

Jeanne Chamberlain says:
11 December 2018

NO! please keep cash. Lots of reasons, some of which are:-
1) Taxi – they only accept cash, as the taxi driver keeps what he takes after paying in to the Taxi firm for use of cab, petrol etc. etc. so cash is VITAL to the Taxi business.
2) Giving donations to charities. (I prefer to put in cash rather thank giving my card info)
3) give pocket money or gifts to children
The above are just some of the many reasons why cash MUST be kept, and accepted by banks.

P.C.Wheeler says:
14 December 2018

Cash is vital, especially for smaller transactions. Older people in particular cannot cope with digital things, and would cause too much confusion. And what happens when links are down, or there are power cuts. Too dangerous to rely on digital only – and open to more and more scams, of which there are too many already.


I am glad I had a good supply of cash yesterday. I popped into a pop-up shop in Norwich city centre that had been set up by a voluntary organisation to sell Christmas cards, calendars, and related items on behalf of a wide range of local charities who would otherwise find it hard to get their products into the public arena. I selected all our requirements from a number of different charities and was surprised at the overall quality of the cards and the extremely reasonable prices; every penny of profits goes to the organisations unlike with charity cards sold by commercial retailers. The shop has minimal overheads because it occupies a vacant unit and is let gratis by the landlord and to keep costs down they do not have a card machine, taking only cash or cheques – and they clearly prefer the former. So for the first time in a long time I extracted a number of notes from my wallet in order to pay for the cards. It disappoints me that I shall be paying more to the Royal Mail per card than the average price I paid for them.

Elizabeth Stewart says:
14 December 2018

Keep cash! I use my debit card, but not for amounts less than £10. And, as others have said, what about the charities and others who rely on it?

David W says:
15 December 2018

Ok, I can accept that everyone could have a personal cash receipt machine and organisations but these will charged for. So take Age Concern taking money for trips to supermarket: cash is easy and no overheads. Likewise Age Concern lunches what’s alternative: tap for lunch, tap for travel, tap for raffle, tap for cake stall, tap for books/cards – that’s getting really complex to manage – is that 5 bank accounts, how else do you identify which money went where? Finally I am not going to Tap to give presents, its bad enough giving a cheque.

Patrick Taylor says:
23 December 2018


Rather alarming to find that even after Iceland the regulation of EU banks is a mess – and potentially dangerous to consumers.

As for cash versus cards ….. CANADA says .. use cash if you want privacy and particularly if you buy cannabis.
“Keep in mind that storing data in the Cloud or in proprietary software means there is likely transfer or storage of that personal information outside of Canada, which could then potentially be accessed by foreign law enforcement. Again, given the fact that cannabis use is not legal in most other jurisdictions, potential access to this data by foreign governments is of particular concern, which means it will generally be more privacy protective to store personal information on a server located in Canada.”


Patrick – Your comment prompts me to comment that the withdrawal of cash would upset the drugs trade – in sterling at least. Perhaps that is the hidden agenda.


Hi – thanks for all the great comments on here about the future of money. I thought you might like to know that the Governor will be taking questions live on our Future Forum platform this Wednesday at 3.30pm so do please register now and log in on the day. Alternatively you can post your questions in advance (before midnight today) here: https://bankofenglandfutureforum.co.uk/post/781050?forPhase=27430