The use of cash to pay for goods and services is falling rapidly in the UK as we dig out the plastic to make purchases. Are you ready to live in a world where cash is no longer king?
The use of cash for retail spending has dropped 14% in the past five years, according to the British Retail Consortium. And a separate report by Halifax found that only £17.99 of every £100 that’s spent by its customers is spent in cash, a £3.03 fall on 2013.
What’s driving this?
Well, you can now find a debit and credit card terminal in almost any shop, and further payment innovations, such as contactless cards and mobile banking apps are making cashless payment increasingly convenient. A cashless society feels closer than ever.
London buses stop cash payments
Supporters argue that cashless transactions increase efficiency. Small businesses, for example, spend an estimated £3,600 a year on cash handling. In fact, more and more services are going cashless – London buses will stop accepting your pennies this summer.
Nevertheless, the security implications of a cashless economy are vast – all transactions could be monitored, for example. But with so much cashless shopping taking place, that horse may have already bolted. And while some crime, such as bank robbery and money laundering, could be more difficult in a cashless society, opportunities for fraud could increase. With card fraud up 16% in 2013, that’s something to keep an eye on.
For me, the convenience and efficiency of cashless payments outweigh the disadvantages, provided adequate safeguards are in place. If we are to let go of our notes and coins, banks and retailers must invest in systems that protect our money – and privacy – so that we feel assured to spend with freedom and confidence.