2 takes on cash in the UK

And the clash over cash goes on ...

The following articles offer a "point/counterpoint" on the future of cash in the U.K. And it's a discussion going on all over the globe.

Beth Longware Duff, who writes about electronic payment processing for Merchant Express cites a study by Skrill that says cash is on the wane in Great Britain.

Briton Ron Delnevo suggests that cash is still as essential as ever to the U.K. — and the world at large. Delnevo is chairman of the board for the ATM Industry Association European chapter, and we're pleased to say, the latest addition to the list of ATM Marketplace bloggers.

Delnevo recently took part in the ATMIA US 2013 conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. He spoke in two sessions: "US and European Business Perspectives"; and "Erosion of Interchange," a panel discussion.

Survey says future of cash is in question

by Beth Longware Duff

The concept of cash has been around since 3000 B.C., but its days may be numbered, according to a new survey of 2,000 consumers in the United Kingdom. It reveals that a third of Brits carry less than five pounds sterling (about $8) at any given time, due to the fact that credit and debit cards, digital wallets and mobile payment solutions have made them less reliant on cash.

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The survey results were reported by Skrill, a leading independent online payments and digital wallet service, as part of its Future of Money campaign. Other findings include:

  • More than one in five of those surveyed are already convinced physical money will disappear in the next 20 years.
  • More than half think digital wallets or online cash transfers will increase over the next few years.
  • Five percent say they never carry cash.
  • Thirteen percent say they'd be happy to give up cash today.
  • A third say they use cash to pay for less than a third of their weekly purchases and they think they'll use even less cash over the next ten years.
  • Thirty-five percent get annoyed if a shop has a cash-only policy.
  • Thirty percent use their debit and credit cards to pay for everything, regardless of how small the purchase value.
  • Thirteen percent admit to buying things they do not really need or want just to meet a store's minimum transaction amount.

The study also found that in the future, people are more likely to make payments over the Internet rather than pay for them using traditional paper notes and coins; in fact, 37 percent of spending in the U.K. already has moved online.

A whopping 82 percent of respondents plan to shop online next year, 38 percent will spend more online this year than last and 13 percent indicated they would like to do absolutely all of their shopping online if possible.

Despite these moves to new payment channels, Brits did recognize a downside to going cashless. Nineteen percent admitted that using their credit or debit card makes it harder to keep track of their spending, and another 21 percent said they are less likely to stick to a budget if they don't pay with cash.

"Times are changing with cash, and even credit and debit cards increasingly making way for online transfers, digital wallets and payments via mobile phones or apps," said Skrill CEO Siegfried Heimgaertner.

"Consumers are finding it quicker and easier to click a button than fumble with their change. With only 3 percent of payments in Sweden still made in cash, the coming years are going to see radical changes in this area."


Cash is the real deal

 by Ron Delnevo

Delighted though I am to work in an industry that dispenses so much cash, I never lose sight of the fact that it is the cash itself that really matters.

Distribution channels are important, but without the public's love affair with cash, none of those channels would count for much.

The statistics are well-known but are always worth repeating:

  • Around 80 percent of all purchases on our planet are still made using cash. 
  • With 2,500 years of continuous use, cash belies the "life cycle" concept so beloved of marketing specialists.
  • Nothing mankind has ever created is more popular than cash.

Of course, this sustained popularity is hardly surprising.

Almost every member of the current 7 billion world population will use cash extensively during his or her lifetime.

However, the really startling fact us that 5 billion of our fellow human beings live on less than $5 per day.

Those 5 billion use cash to the exclusion of almost any other payment method. In most cases, cash and bartering are their sole means of trading.

For many of those 5 billion users, having cash offers hope of an escape from poverty and the freedom to exercise choice.

So our industry can be really proud of the part we play in distributing the world's most popular product and one that is crucial in the lives of so many people.

Roll on the next 2,500 years for the world's first-choice payment method.


ATM Marketplace wants to know: What's your take on the future of cash?


photo: dullhunk

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Rowan Berridge
    "Nineteen percent admitted that using their credit or debit card makes it harder to keep track of their spending" I don't understand why people say this. If you use online banking, it's actually much easier to keep track of your card spending than it is with cash.
  • Jim Molloy
    "it's actually much easier to keep track of your card spending than it is with cash". True, but if you use cash, you cant spend more than you've got
  • Rowan Berridge
    You're right, Jim. It's a sad reflection of how some people view cards (as an endless supply of free money) that they have to revert to cash in order to control their spending impulses - sad or not, though, that is reality for some consumers.
  • Ron Delnevo
    The card industry issued credit cards ( infamously, the UK " Access" card in the early 1970's) like confetti years ago to encourage people to go into debt. And it worked like a dream/nightmare. The idea that cards inherently help or encourage users to monitor or control their expenditure is fallacious.A good percentage of the Public in Western Nations actually enjoy overspending. Hardly surprising since they have been set an example by their Governments!
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