Whether you’re catching the bus, parking your car – or paying for your child’s school dinners – you’re now often told you can’t use cash. Cashless payments are supposed to make life easier, but do they?
For example, you can’t take an impromptu bus ride in London. You’re expected to constantly carry your contactless Oyster card – on the off chance you might fancy a bus trip one day. I think that’s ridiculous.
The other week, when I was visiting my extended family, we went on a walk that lasted longer than planned. So my parents suggested we get the bus back. But I didn’t have my Oyster card and don’t have a contactless payment card, so Mum bussed it with my youngest, and the rest walked with me to keep me company.
OK, it got me out of helping prepare lunch, but whose idea was it to complicate such a simple thing – pay money, get on bus?
As any parent knows, there’s plenty to carry as it is. Water, snacks in case there’s a traffic jam, sun cream in case the sun shines, a brolly in case it rains. A change of clothes for when the kids fall in mud or dog mess, or they throw up in the car. Money, plasters, keys, phone … and on top of all this the payment card.
Should you have to make cashless payments?
Buses aren’t the only places that restrict how you pay. My children’s school only accepts payments online. Previously, you’d get the letter home about a school trip, then take in the cash. If you forgot or the letter went astray, you’d pay up when the teacher reminded you.
But now, the teacher reminds you, and you have to remember to make the payment. Which can be a long time if you’re heading off to work, rather than back home to your computer, or if your internet’s down.
In my case, I have to remember to remind my husband, as the login’s in his name. And then remember to check he’s done it. Which means we’ve had to introduce an admin system to make sure our kids don’t miss out.
I’m not against cashless payments. It’s no doubt easier for those accepting the payments and it can be easier for those of us making them, too.
Paying for parking using your mobile, instead of scrabbling around for loose change, for instance, is a great idea. Provided, you have a mobile on you that’s charged.
Why don’t those who introduce these cashless systems acknowledge that sometimes we can’t or don’t want to make cashless payments? Progress should make life easier, not more complicated.
What do you think of cashless payment systems? Do they make your life easier or more complicated?