Friday 8 March 2019

Finance Fridays – Is Cash Dead?

We were discussing if ISAs are still worth it for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are wondering about the future of cash. This week a report by Access to Cash highlights the growing cost of supplying cash and how it is becoming commercially unviable. Across the country bank branches are closing and cash machines are being taken out. This is leaving people with a long distance to travel just to get some cash out.

Cash is still popular because it is still broadly accepted in most places and the most reliable of payments. Credit and debit cards can be declined and online payments can be hacked. When I was at a flower show last year all of the traders there had temporary stalls. It was a lovely setting in the heart of the countryside but there was barely any mobile or internet signal and the traders were having trouble taking payments. As I had been before I realised the best option would be to take cash if I wanted to buy anything.

Another reason I took cash to the flower show was that I knew I wouldn't overspend. Many people find that it easy to hand over a card to pay even though they can't really afford it. If you have cash then once it has been spent then that is it.

There are also many trades and businesses that still rely on cash. Have you ever paid by card at a car boot sale? Do you give the window or bin cleaner cash? With businesses being charged for each card transaction that goes through for small traders cash is often a much more attractive option.

Charities are also worried about the growing cashless society. Many charities see their donation totals bolstered by spare change given to them. Pop up charity and fund raising stalls don't have the resources available to them to have card readers.

Many banks and building societies offer accounts to children from the age of 11 which comes with a payment card. Would you be happy that this is the only means of payment for your child? What about younger children? Would cards be issued to primary school kids?

If you like to use cash the best thing to do is use it as much as possible.

Do you use cash much? How would you be affected by a cashless society?

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Finance Fridays

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