/ Money, Technology

Do cashless payments really make your life easier?

contactless payment

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?

Comments
Lessismore says:
14 July 2015

I paid for something using the contactless card without realising it. I wasn’t even right at the counter. I subsequently went to the bank and cancelled the contactless card. I think these things should be trialled properly first before they are foisted on us all.

How did this happen?

Henry says:
18 July 2015

It didn’t happen. NFC requires the card to be within a few millimetres of the card terminal, payment by card to be activated by the cashier and a transaction to be ready for payment. So in other words Lessiemore is describing something that didn’t happen.

Henry – if you care to research there were early examples of readers taking an NFC payment from another card a person had in an adjacent wallet AFAIR it was M&S or similar. This led to few more examples of charfes going to the wrong card.

Incidentally the use of powerful NFC readers and instigating a charging event offer interesting possibilities on packed transport I would imagine.

Just in case you believe that no company is that stupid just recall the following:
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-2812962/How-car-thieves-use-hi-tech-scanners-reprogramme-electronic-keys-steal-luxury-cars.html

I have heard of this happening before, do you work for a bank?

Never had any problems and it is quicker.
Have to touch the card on the reader before it is read, even a few mms above is too far

I always use my my contactless debit card when ever possible and have given up using cash at all if possible ,I carry very little cash on me

I haven’t withdrawn any cash since January. I’m finding it much easier to use cards for everything. I’ve noticed that in recent years people in their 20s have made it normal to pay for very small purchases by card, whereas 10 to 15 years go this would have raised eyebrows. Many men (myself included) don’t like carrying coins in their pockets, whereas women don’t tend to mind so much as their purses usually have spacious compartments for coins. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if the trend towards a cashless society is driven more by men than by women.

It would be very costly for London buses to maintain a cash payment system for the tiny minority of people who still want to pay in this way. If London buses still accepted cash, then the cash fare would have to be very high to cover the fixed costs of a cash payment system. For example, even on the Tube where the number of ticket machines in London is much lower than the number of buses in London, an off-peak zone 2 fare is £1.50 cashless or £4.80 for cash. The differential would be even higher for buses because of the increased number of places where cash would need to be accepted. Whereas the cashless bus fare is £1.50, a cash bus fare would be well over £5 to cover the substantial costs of handling cash on every bus for a tiny minority of passengers. I therefore think it is reasonable and logical for London buses to have stopped accepting cash altogether. Would you have been willing to pay 4 times the normal fare in order to pay by cash?

Joel says:
18 July 2015

For NFH – not right about buses. Before cashless was imposed, the cash fare was approx £2.80 – London has had flat fare for some time, so that was the charge for one journey, long or short.

TfL ‘consulted’ about withdrawing cash fares, saying just 3% (which magically went down to 1%) of bus users paid cash. Er, let’s turn those percentages into real numbers – the original ‘3%’, out of three million weekday travellers PER DAY is 90,000 people. That’s the real number, not the percentage; they either didn’t have a suitable pre-pay card or couldn’t afford an up-front payment. In the ‘consultation’, the substantive result was a clear majority opposed to cashless payment, but TfL ignored that, saying it was only those who paid cash who were opposed. That is, in TfL’s view, if you didn’t comment you supported cashless travel. I’ve yet to see a system recognised whereby an absence of voting counts in determining the outcome – oh, hang on. What’s in the Trade Union Bill?

Robert C says:
19 July 2015

the price difference quoted is not the real cost of handling cash it is a price difference to force people to use cashless. I do not believe the “tiny minority” statement. Many more would use cash if the price was the same. Occasional visitors to London (train and tube to a meeting) would not need a cashless card they’d just pay cash. Contactless cards may well expire between my occasional visits to London

Robert, why does it matter if contactless cards expire between your occasional visits to London? If your card expires, then your card issuer sends you another one. As for Oyster cards, they don’t have an expiry date because they’re a stored value card, not a credit or debit card.

I’m surprised that on the day when Apple Pay went live for UK-issued cards, no mention was made of it in this article. Yesterday I used Apple Pay 14 times on Transport for London – 10 DLR card readers, 2 Tube barriers and 2 DLR ticket inspections; it worked perfectly. I also used it twice in a pub.

Apple Pay has a big advantage over contactless cards (and over cash for that matter). Removing one’s wallet from one’s pocket or one’s purse from one’s handbag, then removing a card from one’s wallet or purse, touching it on a card reader and putting it back into one’s wallet or purse and then back into one’s pocket or handbag is a relatively clumsy procedure that requires two hands. On the other hand, Apple Pay can be used with only one hand. This is particularly relevant when using the yellow card readers on Transport for London. In the common scenario where one hand is already carrying something, then getting out one’s contactless card can be very awkward and can hold up other passengers behind. Many Tube passengers are already holding their iPhones as they go up escalators to exit stations, not least because of the Tube’s free wifi. Therefore touching one’s iPhone on a yellow card reader at the ticket barriers is an effortless process. The same principle applies when ordering drinks at a bar. Many people use their iPhones while standing at the bar waiting to be served. Having to put away one’s iPhone and get out one’s wallet or purse, then get the card out of the wallet or purse, touch it on a card reader and put everything away again is inevitably more time consuming and clumsy than simply using the device already in one’s hand. Another advantage of Apple Pay over contactless cards is that Apple Pay has no transaction limit because it uses fingerprint authentication, which is more secure than Chip & PIN. Although many retailers are limiting Apple Pay to £20 initially, this limit will disappear once retailers upgrade the software in their contactless terminals.

Hi NFH, thanks for the comment and sharing your interesting experience of using Apple Pay. Sounds like it’s working for you. We’d be interested to know how other readers get on with it.

In this Convo, we were thinking about the general idea of cashless systems – whether people are happy not to have the option of using cash – rather than compare particular systems.

We have taken a look at Apple Pay, though. If you’re interested, here’s the link.

http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/apple/apple-pay-everything-you-need-to-know/

Paul, thanks for the link to the blog. Sorry if I went off-topic, but I was trying to make a point about how cashless payments are becoming even easier than before. Perhaps there should have been a separate conversation about Apple Pay on the day it went live in the UK.

I do occasionally use a contactless debit card and so far have had no problems.

Many, including myself, have not been impressed by the banks just sending out contactless cards irrespective of whether people want to use them. If the banks had required account holders to request a contactless card, they might have been seen as desirable, rather than foisted on us.

An attractive feature of contactless cards is that there is no need to be wary of someone watching you enter a PIN, unlike a debit or credit card, and the transaction is limited to £20 if something goes wrong.

The contactless feature has resulted in many concerns of accidental, typified by the post made above by Lessismore. Why contactless when the card could be swiped? This is just as easy and would remove a major criticism.

I agree that I have no wish to have received a contactless debit card. I would never use a debit card as a means of payment, because:

1. I would unnecessarily forego airmiles, points or cashback that I receive by using a credit card.
2. If there was any fraud, it would temporarily deprive me of my money rather than the card issuer’s money.

Therefore I would have preferred my bank to have issued a non-contactless debit card.

NFH – I would have preferred a contactless credit card. When I do receive a contactless credit card, I will ask my bank to replace the contactless debit card with one lacking the contactless facility. It will be interesting to see what response I receive. 🙂

“. Why contactless when the card could be swiped? This is just as easy and would remove a major criticism.”
Most customer credit card readers do not have an active swipe reader, if swipe is needed the card has to be handed over to the till operator who uses “their” cc machine – thus defeating the aim of a quicker transaction.

Fair enough, but equally you can say that most card readers don’t have a contactless facility. But where there is the facility to swipe a card, it’s just as fast as a contactless transaction and you have eliminated the concern that your card could be debited accidentally.

Henry says:
18 July 2015

Cards are not debited accidentally. This simply cannot happen, the technology is not capable of this sort of behaviour. Of course let’s not have the facts get in the way of a good moan about ‘concerns’ and ‘worries’ which are presented as true stories.

A swipe is not as fast, and I for one will not hand over my card to a checkout operator. That’s the real issue. Thankfully skimming cards is less prevalent now as the banks have transferred liability to retailers for a swipe, but take full liability for contact less and chip and pin, so you’ll notice the card rarely leaves your hand. The chip cannot be easily copied, but the magnetic stripe can be.

C Gillett says:
26 July 2015

You could have requested a contactless card, as I did.

I’m flabergasted “you can’t take an impromptu bus ride in London. You’re expected to constantly carry your contactless Oyster card”. It is indeed ridiculous. Surely mobile ticketing exists? (It does up here in Edinburgh, but then our bus company is a cracker: http://lothianbuses.com/tickets/ticket-options. LRT also still accepts cash.) If it doesn’t, what a flaw. But yes, what if your smartphone’s battery’s gone flat…

It looks as if the contactless payment facility will spread everywhere eventually, under one shape or another, slowly but surely, too fast for some and not enough for others. What we need to ensure is that the shapes (mobile cards, apps) it assumes work for us, including among other things making accidental payment very difficult, if not impossible.

If the cost of a cash fare is as much as £5 (as opposed to £1.50 for a electronic fare), then hardly anyone will use cash fares. This means that the average cost per cash fare would rise to £10 or more, because the fixed costs would be shared amongst fewer cash fare passengers. Therefore if hardly anyone uses a facility, why keep it? It seems pointless.

You don’t need Oyster any more for periods of one week and under. The trend is towards contactless payment cards. Both have the same fares with the exception that contactless payment cards are subject to weekly caps, whereas Oyster is not.

Robert C says:
19 July 2015

So if you are join the club and get an Oyster card you do not enjoy the benefit of a weekly cap. (but a week’s use of a debit card does). Sounds like a gamble. I repeat £5 is not the cost of a cash fare and it does not rise to £10, it is simply a pricing strategy to force us all to use Oyster cards (and I rarely visit London, so it will expire or be or mislaid before I use it again)

Yes, I’m not sure why the imposition of weekly caps is different for contactless payment cards and Oyster. I think it’s something to do with different back-end systems used for each. I hope they extend the caps to monthly, which would negate the need to use Oyster for long-term Travelcards.

There has been the suggestion, one that I share, is that making it easy for people to pay actually increases the probability that more people will lose track of their finances.

To help people not to overspend there should be an actual physical and mental action requirment to the payment process. NFH has kindly pointed out the ease at which money can be spent by the sudden urge to buy. This would be particularly a feature at the bar where buying a round of drinks is trivialised.

And who are the winners in this? Apple, the Banks, the vendors and whilst we may save vital seconds per transaction I am confident that all the hours spent t the end of the month wondering how the money disappeared and where to wil easily exceed a years worth of seconds saved.

Humans are not very bright animals and this I think will be a splendid illustration of Joe Public being lured down possibly a one way avenue to future problems..

I genuinely do not understand this claim that handling cash has such a huge cost. We have cash used all the time in businesses, we have cash counting machines (you need equipment for contactless cards), so I’d like someone to explain the real costs, not the costs used by TfL to make their case.

There are surely other options for transport tickets – shops could no doubt sell them (for cash) for example to those who are visitors or rarely use public transport. We must remember public services should be just that – a service considering all the public. It seems ludicrous that you can’t get on a bus simply because you only have real money.

Malcolm, shops do sell Oystercards for travelling on London buses. What you can’t do any more is pay cash to the bus driver. The cost per cash-paying passenger of running an on-board cash payment system makes it uneconomical.

So supposing like Lisa in the intro you need, or want, to get a bus for an unplanned journey where there are no shops. I still consider it not a public service if you cannot pay with legal currency. I am not convinced by the high cost of processing argument, but that aside I think that is irrelevant for service to the public. Sometimes economics have to take second place. Options should be in place to cater for everyone.

I think security is the massive hidden cost of accepting cash on thousands of buses.

I could not agree more, Malcolm. If it is expensive to handle cash then we need to find ways of making it less expensive. On buses you could have a secure box that gets emptied once a week and the drivers have no involvement with handing in the cash. The amount of cash is not likely to be large but accepting it means that an adequate public service is being offered.

I’m all for efficiency but when that over-rules considering the needs of people then there is something seriously wrong.

On the Tube, it already costs £4.80 for cash vs £1.50 for cashless, which reflects the high costs of handling the relatively few cash payments for Tube tickets. The differential would be even higher on buses. If the cash bus fare was £5 or £6, would you be willing to pay this? If hardly anyone wants to pay this, why bother with operating such a system? Why not instead encourage people to use contactless credit and debit cards or Oyster?

I try to keep an open mind but I will take some convincing that it costs £3.30 to process a £1.50 fare. It would be cheaper to simply not charge for the fare! My local bus company would have gone bust years ago – its £2 to my local town and they take cash, passes and cards without discrimination.

I, being somewhat cynical, suspect creative accounting is used to make a case. It effectively charges penalty fares for those who would otherwise want to pay in cash and force a complete transition to card payments.

Almost all business accept cash, many for small transactions. Are we heading for a £1 newspaper at your local shop – ah, sorry, £4.30 for cash.

However, I’m sure there are facts that may change my view.

If the number of people using cash is small then why not just absorb the costs. Like Malcolm, I find it difficult to understand the high costs claimed for cash transactions.

Let’s think more about people and less about money.

In Toronto in the last century we had little metal tokens for use on the transport system. These could be bought in shops and the main stations in strips of AFAIR 6. These could have a slight premium in cost to make the cards more attractive.

These could solve the problem of cash on buses AND have the great advantage of passengers being able to give them to fellow intending passengers who are cash based.

Angie says:
18 July 2015

I regularly see passengers being allowed to travel in spite of having no contactless means of payment. Agree it would be good to be able to pay for more than one fare with the same card. As I am ancient I have to carry my freedom pass and a contactless card with me if travelling out of hours or farther afield. Looking forward to Apple pay when I upgrade my phone. By the way, small shops which sell mobile phone accessories will charge your phone for you for a fee. And nowadays a pocket charger is essential while the stuff phones can do outpaces the battery’s ability to cope!

‘Shops to sell tickets’. Now there’s an idea………….Wait a minute, didn’t we used to have outlets to do this………what were they called…….oh yes – Ticket office, inside the station.

Having just spent a couple of days swanning around London on buses, trains and the Underground using my Oyster card it beats cash payment every time. It’s a pearl of a payment system. Here in Norfolk bus passengers without passes pay the driver who then issues a ticket and gives change. It can take some time to complete the transaction because there are various types of day, group and return tickets plus student cards and so forth; in fact we pensioners with our concessionary bus passes are the speediest boarders – and none of us ever seem to forget to bring our passes. Perhaps that’s because we keep them where we keep our keys and we wouldn’t leave home without them, would we?

The other brilliant feature of the Oyster system is the computer application that lets you manage your account, check your journey history, pick up refunds, amend your auto top-up facility, and so on. If as a result of that you can’t use cash on the buses that’s a tiny drawback – get a second Oyster card and secrete it somewhere you never leave home without.

I don’t know why it isn’t permitted to use one Oyster card to admit two or three additional passengers onto the bus. It’s only necessary to touch-in at the start of the journey and there is a uniform fare. Even the revenue protection inspectors could check on their hand-held computers that all passengers in a group had been paid for. It wouldn’t work on the Underground because there are zonal fares and it would be impossible to reconcile the passengers entering the system with those leaving it.

I expect when my current debit card expires in 2018 the new one will have a contactless facility and I am looking forward to it because it will be one less PIN to remember and worry about being captured. By then the number of payment points that accept contactless cards will probably have reached over 90% and the maximum value limit will have risen to a useful amount. One of my credit cards is contactless but it has never been used that way – hotels and some other places tend to swipe it rather than require a PIN entry.

But you still need to remember your PIN for the random occasions it will ask for it when paying contactless.
However I have never been asked yet .
What are other peoples experiences ?

I have not yet been asked for a PIN when using a contactless card, but I cannot recall using it more than once a day. Perhaps frequent use might trigger this request, especially if this pattern of use is not typical.

I see the £20 limit per transaction as reassuring, but have no objection to John and others having a higher limit – provided the bank is happy with this.

I made enquiries at the supermarket checkout as to whether they had experienced any problems with contactless debit card payments and the answer was simply none at all.

If this is a step towards doing away with cash payments I would certainly welcome it as I get rather fed up with my purse being overloaded with small change which increases the weight of my handbag and I have been known to hold up a queue of shoppers trying to find the correct change to pay for one or two small items with cash. I sometimes remove all the copper coins and put them in a jar before taking them to a local charity shop as one way of getting rid of them. On the few occasions I have used my contactless debit card it has been a quick and easy payment for anything under £20.00 but quite a number of small retailers have yet to update their technology so I haven’t been able to use it as much as I would like to.

I do think that Banks should only issue them to responsible customers to prevent misuse through loss.

There’s a TfL press release from last year at https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/news-articles/buses-go-cash-free-from-july

It explains that cash journeys had dropped from 25% in 2000 to around 1% in 2014. It would of course have continued to drop to a fraction of 1% if TfL had retained the cash payment system. It would be unreasonable and simply economic madness to continue operating an expensive payment system that is used by so few passengers. Anyone wanting to pay cash can use their cash in a shop to buy an Oystercard. Otherwise use a contactless credit or debit card.

I no longer carry coins. Any that I come by are squirrelled away for holidays, so we can always easily pay for car parks and so we have plenty of cash to give the children as spending money, if we visit attractions, inlcuding “the slots”.

Although I’m not mad keen on contactless debit cards and limits on where you can use cash I feel that I should point out that in various cities I have been to abroad many years ago it was not possible to pay on the bus/tram and it was essential to buy a ticket before boarding. This was made easier by the absence of differing zones and the consequent varying fares, so one could stock up on tickets, which you activated on entering. So being unable to get on board on the spur of the moment is nothing new.
Incidentally, I wonder how many people realise that if you have a discount travel card (I have a Senior Railcard) you can register it on your Oystercard at an enquiry or ticket office and get a corresponding discount on the Oystercard fares.

That’s a good point, Peter. It’s good for travelling on the Underground, Overground, and those parts of the National Rail system that are included in the Oyster card travel area. I presume it is also good for the new TfL Rail operation that is the forerunner for Crosslink. On buses, seniors in
London without a Freedom Pass can also use a National Concessionary Bus Pass for free travel on London buses..

Brian LH says:
18 July 2015

The banks are pushing contactless payments because they are another source of revenue for them, as they charge retailers, & I expect data on customer profiles (if not individuals’ details) could be another source of income. Statistics on contactless payments often include all electronic transactions, not just the ones in shops and other retailers, in an effort to make the public think this development is inevitable. Also electronic payments make it easier to track people compared with cash. I don’t think any electronic system is (or can be) completely secure, but I am sure the banks would prefer to blame the customer for any problems. I use credit and debit cards with pins, but never contactless, and often cash. Cash is definitely better for keeping track of how much you’re spending.

I can recall the introduction of the Cashpoint with all its assurances of total security. I was on the inside and we and the public were lied to as the cards were clonable and the phantom withdrawals

18 February 2003
To: ukcrypto@
Subject: Citibank tries to gag crypto bug disclosure
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 09:57:34 +0000
From: Ross
Citibank is trying to get an order in the High Court today gagging public
disclosure of crypto vulnerabilities:
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/ftp/users/rja14/citibank_gag.pdf
I have written to the judge opposing the order:
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/ftp/users/rja14/citibank_response.pdf
The background is that my student Mike has discovered some really
horrendous vulnerabilities in the cryptographic equipment commonly used
to protect the PINs used to identify customers to cash machines:
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/TechReports/UCAM-CL-TR-560.pdf
These vulnerabilities mean that bank insiders can almost trivially find
out the PINs of any or all customers. The discoveries happened while Mike
and I were working as expert witnesses on a `phantom withdrawal’ case.
The vulnerabilities are also scientifically interesting:
http://cryptome.org/pacc.htm
For the last couple of years or so there has been a rising tide of phantoms.
I get emails with increasing frequency from people all over the world whose
banks have debited them for ATM withdrawals that they deny making. Banks in
many countries simply claim that their systems are secure and so the
customers must be responsible. It now looks like some of these
vulnerabilities have also been discovered by the bad guys. Our courts and
regulators should make the banks fix their systems, rather than just lying
about security and dumping the costs on the customers.
Curiously enough, Citi was also the bank in the case that set US law on
phantom withdrawals from ATMs (Judd v Citibank). They lost. I hope that’s
an omen, if not a precedent …

[This comment has been tweaked to align with our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Brian, the fees paid by retailers are much lower for contactless cards than for ways of using a card, for example Chip & PIN and “cardholder not present”. Therefore when banks push contactless payments, they are actually earning less revenue.

Figures?

And modern ones accounting for recent EU legislation in that area please. Also terminal rental charges are another revenue stream which needs to be included in any comparisons. Obviously piggy-backing on existing systems should be to contactless’s advantage.

Interchange fees (excluding acquirers’ markups) can be found at:

http://www.visaeurope.com/media/images/united%20kingdom%20jul15-73-17806.pdf

http://www.mastercard.com/us/wce/PDF/UK.pdf

Terminal rental charges are a fixed cost and have no marginal cost per payment. It is not helpful to include such costs when comparing the marginal cost of processing a payment.

Brian LH says:
19 July 2015

NFH, contactless cards may provide less revenue than from other cards, but they’ll provide massively more than the zero revenue banks get from people using cash!
BTW, with your comments and grasp of where to find data on fees & changes, am I right in suspecting you work in or for financial services or TfL?

Brian, you’re right that contactless does allow banks and credit card issuers to generate revenue from transactions that would previously have been by cash. But remember that banks charge businesses to deposit cash, so it’s not all gain as they will lose profit in another area.

I work in wholesale foreign exchange. I have no connection with retail banking. I simply used Google to find the interchange fees. It took a few seconds for each card network.

Thanks for the detail. Terminal costs are a fixed cost but yes they are relevant if you own a shop which takes relatively few transactions and you will probably also require Internet access.

According to a US site?:
” Such apps are typically free to download, and like more conventional processing methods, their vendors take their fees as a percentage of each transaction. For example, Square takes 2.75 percent of each swipe, while PayPal takes 2.7 percent when you swipe a card with the PayPal Here card reader. Whichever service you choose, make sure to check the pricing information and user agreement carefully for conditions or additional fees.”

Essentially card payment has allowed many additional leeches into the payment system which we are all indirectly paying for by increased prices on the sold items.

Refuse to use one. And to know there are some services, such as London buses, that its the only form of payment is wrong

Karen, several people above have similarly expressed a view that London buses should continue to accept cash payments, but how would this work economically? It’s very easy to advocate this, but you are ignoring the logistics and economic difficulties involved.

NFH however do you think bus conductors managed in the past? All this contactless stuff, it dispenses with peoples JOBS.
If it costs the banks more for me to use cash and cheques, then that’s what i will do!

If someone is doing a job that could be done more efficiently by a machine, then it makes sense to change that employee’s role to something more productive that can’t be done by a machine, for example increasing safety on platforms or even ticket inspectors. Like any organisation, TfL needs to make sure its employees are productive, and selling tickets is not productive but a wasteful use of manpower.

“done more efficiently by a machine,”. I believe this only applies if your sole criteria is economic. I believe there are other criteria that should be considered, in particular social. Some people are only capable of doing relatively menial jobs that could be mechanised. But in being left to do them they can have a productive life that helps keep them able to support themselves.

As far as banks taking a cut of electronic payments, I wonder just how transparent that cut is. We’ve seen how people taking credit card payments had to be taken to task for overcharging. I would be interested to know just how much the providers charge for these contactless transactions, and how much banks charge to take in cash deposits.

For me as a Tetraplegic [limited use of my hands] cashless is a blessing! No more struggling to hold the machine to enter pin numbers – buttons I don’t have the strength to push either! I’m careful how I use it, always check my receipts and would welcome it on my MasterCard in addition to Visa Debit.