On Saturday I reach an important (payment) milestone – I’ve been (almost) cashless for six months.
Each week I have posted about the triumphs and challenges I have faced and to be honest it has been a breeze – if you want to be cashless in the UK there is nothing to stop you.
But what have I learnt over the past six months?
1: How we decide to pay for things is not a binary choice
Firstly, deciding how we want to pay for things is not necessarily a binary choice between adopting a completely ‘cash’ or ‘cashless’ position.
The Bundesbank have sensibly stated:
“Consumers should be able to decide for themselves how they pay.
For us, it is important to have a broad mix of options and that efficient methods for payment are available”
Burkhard Balz, Bundesbank, Germany.
You can be as cashless as you choose to be.
That said, in a crowded payments market place it is clear that cashless transactions are making significant inroads and, I believe, will ultimately prevail.
2: Inclusivity, accessibilty and ease of use should be our mantra
Secondly, as the UK increasingly becomes a cashless society it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that cashless solutions are accessible, inclusive and easy to use.
The progress made on financial inclusion over the past few years must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of a cashless society.
People must not be forced to go cashless – there is a positive inevitability about becoming a cashless society but it must be with the consent of the individual and at a pace that the individual is comfortable with.
3: There are few barriers to becoming cashless
Thirdly, becoming cashless is not very difficult.
On the high street the debit card POS is ubiquitous, the ‘minimum spend’ sticker has become extinct and Chip & Pin has become a teenager.
Card based payments for online transactions are cashless by default and over 4 billion regular payments each year are paid by Direct Debit.
Cashless barriers are few and far between and almost all payment scenarios have a cashless solution.
As I approach my six cashless month my challenges are now few and far between – mostly limited to tipping in restaurants, paying for my car to be cleaned, paying for a Chinese takeaway, charity cake sales and NHS hospital car parks.
Choosing to be cashless in the UK is absolutely possible, there are many innovative and compelling cashless options for you to choose.
Being cashless should remain the choice of the individual and no one should be forced to dispense with cash. That said, once you try being cashless you will soon become a stranger to your local ATM.
Inclusive, accessible and easy to use cashless solutions are key – they must seek to solve and not fuel financial exclusion.
I’m on the hunt for cashless solutions for tips at a restaurant, paying for my car to be cleaned and buying a slice of carrot cake. Fortunately I am sure it won’t be long before all takeaways offer cashless options and, perhaps, the NHS will get with the programme and sort out their car park Pay and Display machines.
After one cash based Chinese takeaway last week I’m planning on a 100% cashless week this week – to celebrate my six month milestone (I will let you know how I get on).