Cashless society - when?

Are you simply refusing to acknowledge the fact that there are a large number of people without a bank account? How is cash not needed for them?

By your own numbers, right now about 2 million people use cash regularly. So is this a future statement that in 20 years time it may never be needed?

Small communities are usually well aware of such things, because they are small communities. This doesn’t stand.

People should be getting bank accounts, to put it quite plainly. How they survive without them, I’ve no idea.

And no, I’m saying none of those 2M of your estimate need cash. They could survive without it.

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Gross ignorance doesn’t make you right. There are many reasons people struggle to get a bank account, search this forum, it’s been discussed elsewhere.

I understand what @PPUK is trying to say but he isn’t putting his argument forward very well.

If a shop said “sorry cash only”, I wouldn’t go and wander off to the other side of town to get more cash than I need, to then come back and spend money. I’d just go to a shop that did take card payments or it would force me to shop online.

On the other hand. A huge amount of homeless people (for example) have no fixed address or ID so can’t have a bank account.

Cash is declining but a lot needs to be done to get rid of it fully.


I would prefer you play the words. I’ve discussed it elsewhere (although not on this forum) and it’s entirely possible to offer bank accounts to literally everyone using modern day technology.

As such, cash is irrelevant if we want it to be. We can get rid of it.

I’m dropping out of this thread now. I understand what @PPUK is trying to say but not going to engage further as it’s very much poh-tay-toe/poh-tah-toe now.

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But if ‘we’ don’t want it to be irrelevant, it won’t be. :man_shrugging:

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This, however, isn’t a reason to keep cash - this is a reason why Bank’s need to develop services for the Homeless. I know HSBC and Lloyds were running schemes last year as a pilot for basic bank accounts for people with no fixed addresses. Without a bank account, you can’t even begin to work your way through the benefits system to get the help you need to turn your life around.

I personally also think that cash is on it’s way out and I generally don’t use it at all. The only time I use it is if someone gives me it but I very rarely withdraw any of the cash machine. I can think of only 2 local services that don’t take cards - the local chippy (so it’s healthier not to use cash!) and the barbers for some reason (even though that’s generally not a small ‘couple of pounds’ transaction).

I think some businesses see the downside of card payments (having to invest in the equipment to begin with, a small charge on the transactions) and focus on that as a reason why to stay cash only but they don’t see the downside of cash:

  1. Miscalculating transactions - giving someone too much change for example. Or, as a customer, not being given enough change!
  2. ‘Dishonesty’ - staff dipping into the till has to be considered as a risk
  3. Security - If you’ve got a lot of cash on the premises, you’re exposing yourself to someone wanting to take that away. I wonder if the insurance market has considered if premiums could be reduced if you were a business without cash on the premises?
  4. Cashing up and Banking - someone senior has to spend a lot of time cashing up, checking everything’s ok and taking it to the bank to pay in. That takes a lot of time either each day or weekly and it’s generally a senior member of staff who does that. Their time would probably be better spent elsewhere.

Last summer I was down at St Ives on holiday and noticed there were a few ‘Card Only’ shops there - they were generally shops selling slightly more premium holiday souvenirs and paintings. And last year on the Bristol Post there was a story about a bar in the city that’s card only - not sure how successful that’s been though.

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Buskers and homeless generally gather cash donations in the form of coins. I know digital solutions exist, but they must be they’re relatively difficult and time consuming to organise, and I don’t know how the revenue compares. Similarly, smart phone apps need power, and this isn’t always available. (Nor is a smartphone)

Some adults with learning difficulties can struggle to manage their money. A small, cash, real, physical weekly allowance is much easier to manage than an online bank account.

There are whole other economies that are quite cash heavy (car boot sales, school cake sales, etc) because cash is so simple to use. Setting up card readers in advance would be an effort, and some buyers (eg a small child given £2 to spend) might end up excluded because they haven’t got bank accounts. Just about everyone’s first experience of managing money was coins and cash - I’m not sure you can take that away without losing anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate cash now, and I see loads of benefits of going cashless, but I think it needs to be done carefully.


I know it’s a little old, I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of being cashless (didn’t really take into account where people keep money on them eg in mouths, bras etc or the cleanliness of hands when touching notes & coins).
I liked having cash on me but with Coronavirus here it’s given me a chance to see if I can do without having cash on me, will make my wallet lighter and my pocket is lighter.

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Covid-19 is going to speed this up, a lot of retailers specifying contactless is the prefered payment method now.

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It probably won’t have that much of a lasting impact given that most retailers are closed though the trend to less physical cash will continue.

As it is, the story about getting Coronavirus from cash isn’t quite correct and the UK doesn’t use paper cash anyway (the plastic notes are more resistant)

In the short term, yes it has a big impact

The biggest impact is likely to be as a result of the higher contactless limit.

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I think the jury is still out on whether polymer notes are more resistant or not.
Initially, it was thought they were cleaner, but with recent studies showing that the coronavirus can live on plastic longer than cardboard or paper, it might be able to live longer on polymer notes than cotton paper £50 notes.

It would be interesting if they tested it with coronavirus specifically!