/ 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?

Margaret Wilkin says:
13 February 2019

Access to cash is essential. Not only for those living in rural areas, and the elderly and disabled, but
also for those on the receiving end, such as taxi drivers, newspaper vendors or window cleaners. If a friend
does shopping for us because we cannot get to the shop, that friend expects to be reimbursed in cash.
We pay in cash if we go to the theatre and buy a programme, or to the pub and buy a friend a drink, or purchase eggs from the farm shop; also to get access to toilets! It is arrogant and inconsiderate for those
in senior management in banks, who live and work in the City, and have no conception or experience of
what it is like to live on a limited income where transactions are necessarily made in small amounts, to do
away with cash machines. To what end? To save a few thousand pounds a year for the bank. Banks should
provide a service in the broadest sense. After all, they have our money, and with it pay their costs, including the salaries and expenses of their staff.

Peter Lynam says:
13 February 2019

The British people were forced to rescue high street and other financial institutions from their financial stupidity in 2008 when either they were bankrupt or log-jammed by their lack of trust in each other. In 2019 and beyond, making cash machines available and accessible would seem to be a sensible policy so that so many people can lead their everyday lives.

Michael Vitkay says:
13 February 2019

I always use cash for small expenditure, for instance for a news paper, a coffee, parking, etc. I do not want to check a bank statement every month several pages long containing small sums, eg under 10 pounds. Many people would not do it. It would be an excellent opportunity for crooks to add small amounts to the bills of thousands of people – undetected. There is a strong possibility, it can be done.

Chris says:
13 February 2019

Most small traders still such as gardeners and handymen like to be paid for their services by cash, also small independent shops such as bakers as the amounts involved are small. We need cash available and must have access to cash dispensersas our banks have all closed! We are along way from countries like Sweden where all traders seem to have mobile terminals to allow you to pay even for small amounts of £1 without carrying cash.
The government must insist that cash points are readily available.

D Hartley says:
13 February 2019

Can you think of any other situation, where you pass in some cases large amounts of money to anyone on a monthly bases then when you want some back for personal use it cannot be accessed. Whilst all the time that person is guaranteed a regular income. Doesn’t sound like a very good deal does it.

Steve says:
14 February 2019

Paying cash keeps a better grip on spending!
Credit cards put you in debt?

While there is no doubt that the number of ATM’s is contracting there have been very few – if any – reports here of actual hardship.

The days when there were queues at the cash machines on a Friday and Saturday night seem to have gone since people now pay for their refreshments with cards, increasingly by making contactless payments for rounds of drinks. The price of meals and drinks now makes carrying wads of notes around a nuisance.

Faced with this situation the banks are probably responding in the only way open to them. The banks and traders have facilitated this transition but it has probably reduced crime as well [or relocated it].

Brian says:
15 February 2019

I’m sure if people were using banks they wouldn’t be closing and the Post Office can offer cash withdrawals, but indeed there are some who may have no choice and have to be protected. It’s also possible the closing of branches may be forcing a lot of vulnerable people online who are maybe not aware of the dangers and hazards of operating those services.

Brian, even long before the advent of internet banking, I seldom every actually visited banks and certainly not the one where my account was nominally held.

In olden, olden days, I mostly dealt with the bank by post, except for the matter of taking out cash, for which I’ve always enjoyed the services of cash points.

For many folk today, including “vulnerable people”, if they have the funds, cash is easy to obtain from ATM’s or from shops that do cash back.

For many things, telephone and internet banking services can now be used to avoid trips into a physical bank branch.

From what I’ve observed in recent experience, the greatest dangers and hazards for “vulnerable people” and others on low incomes are the rip-off overdraft fees administered by their own banks, for so-called “un-authorised” overdrafts and/or similar charges for payday loans. When you ain’t got no money, losing it all to scammers is not a big risk, but sending funds to the wrong payee will certainly hurt.

Mr Graham Borja says:
15 February 2019

as a person of a particular age, I am at best twenty years behind in the computer age, and so I would suggest respectfully that you take a quick look at how many post offices have shut for whatever reason and then tell everybody how easy it would be to go to the shutdown post office, or go to the next town when the buses have stopped for whatever reason due to the governments plans to turn this country back to Dickensian times thankfully we don’t have coal fires anymore because that’s where we would find our kids up cleaning chimneys

Graham, as you may well already realise, banking is not the only service that is being pushed towards online transactions.

I worry that this may act to the disadvantage of all non computer savvy people.

Trying to simply put the clock back here may not work.

So more help may be needed to help folk get on with these changing times.

As a volunteer “computer buddy” in my local library, I’m setting out to help with this.

Frances says:
15 February 2019

While cash remains legal tender people have no right to try to deter others from using it.

Pamela says:
15 February 2019

I very rarely use credit/debit cards except when paying large amounts insurance renewal etc by phone. I withdraw £100 per week for living expenses eg.diesel, electricity,food etc. and I stik to that. That way I know exactly what I spend and never go overdrawn or get into debt.

You can’t get a child to run down to the shop with your Cred/Deb card. (Even the £30 swipe can be dangerous by just leaving it lying around in your own home)
And you would be daft to even allow a friend to take your card on your behalf.
It is awkward to tip with a card.
You can’t do impromptu small to moderate donations by card eg for charities at local centres or events, particularly if manned by volunteers.
Try buying a Big Issue with a card. Or a publication at a society or club function. Or for that matter any other promotional or fund raising items.
You can’t put donations in a dish at a funeral.
You can’t give something to a beggar.
You can’t give something to a street performer.
You can’t give a card to a child who needs to contribute to something for school, scouts etc etc
Cash is here to stay. It may become limited in use, but will retain it purpose. Even if some of the above are “resolved” digitally that would incur unnecessary costs.
Cash is here to stay.
If that is recognised, then so too is the need to make its use accessible to all.

Mr John Michael Locke says:
15 February 2019

How right you are. As Secretary of a local group of Cancer Research UK, I notice a big drop in our receipts from casual donations and donations at funerals, etc.

David says:
15 February 2019

When people end up in a cashless society, they have no independence. If all one’s asses are merely a number in a bank account, one is at the complete mercy of goverment. How can you buy a lof of bread when the fibreoptic cables are destroyed and the credit cards don’t work?

Mr John Michael Locke says:
15 February 2019

Poor security is my main concern with on-line and telephone banking. Even the banks admit that fraud is increasing as a result of trying to push everyone into a cashless society.

Colin says:
15 February 2019

It’s not only the cashless society which is marginalising sections of our population. As we move to everything being moved to “you need to do that online” millions of our older neighbours are being disadvantaged especially with gas and electric prices.

Moira Hollamby says:
15 February 2019

A lot of elderly people do not have or want access to a computer therefore do not want online banking We still need cash therefore we need cash machines even more so with so many banks closing It is easier to manage money with cash as you cannot overspend It is also a right to have freedom of choice in a cashless society there is no choice

Jenny Wright says:
15 February 2019

I prefer to use cash because that involves only one opportunity for a mistake to be made; if I have to use a card for every transaction, that increases the potential for mistakes by the number of transactions. I have suffered two mistakes already when using a credit or debit card.

Both our businesses use cash only at the counter-

Carol Spicer says:
15 February 2019

Sorry, but the link in your email to sign the petition doesn’t work – it just goes to Google. Though you should know.

Brian Smallwood says:
15 February 2019

All digital systems are wonderful when they work properly, but they are not reliable enough to be the only option.

l do not agree with the way the banks are closing branches and cash machines through the country. l live in a rural area and the last bank in the village closed last september, no consideration is beening given to the elderley people in our country and everything is being rushed. l would not want to go cashless as you cannot keep a check on what you are spending and if the card terminals when down what would you do.