Friday, 24 February 2012

Cash will remain king......or will it?

According to an article just published by KAL Software: "Every time a new way of paying for something has arrived – credit and debit cards, internet payments, contactless cards,mobile phone payments – the imminent death of cash has been announced. It sounds a reasonable prediction to make given the convenience of these new methods."  Written by Peter Jones, the article maintains that cash remains well used in a mixed economy of competing payment methods.  It seems that people get 70% of their cash from ATMs, which reduce the cost to banks of dispensing cash by 80%, and can also be used to cut costs further.  I can't argue with that.

But it is well known that banks don't like cash; it is expensive to process, to maintain, and to move around.  On the other hand people do like cash because it is invisible (no tracking of purchases by any third parties), easy to use, and trusted.  I have seen stats from one European country which do however prove that cash is in the descendant when compared to other payment methods. It will be interesting to compare future statistics from countries where all cards and terminals are EMV compliant, with those (such as the USA) which are lagging behind.  The heated debate relating to the future of cash has been going for at least a couple of decades now, and the initial assessements of the anti-cash lobby have certainly been proved wrong.

That being said it is all about trust and convenience and, as people become more and more trusting of other payment methods (particularly debit cards), they do use less cash.  I know that I do!  And regardless of what is in our wallets, as the online economy continues to boom, the correlation must be that less is spent in the cash economy.  At the end of the article it states that:  "Research by the UK Payments Council has shown that the heaviest users of cash are not just older people, but young adults aged 16-24."  This should perhaps cause some concern to the pro-cash lobby.  Surely this is the demographic group most likely to embrace mobile technology?  Hmmn.......I guess this debate will be going on for some time yet!

Get the whole of the article here.

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