First I’ll put my cards on the table. I like them. I swipe, touch, tap – and even use my phone. I’m a fully paid up member of the cashless society.
But I know a lot of people in Ladywell who aren’t. They prefer bulging purses and the jingling of coins in their pockets.
They feel the shift to card only payment at cafes and other outlets is unfair – it’s a barrier and they have used cash for most of their lives.
Some retailers prefer cards because it’s more secure – they don’t have tempting cash tills on their premises.
And banking cash is becoming more difficult as branches disappear from our high streets and costs rise.
Some banks now even refuse to accept or give out coins in their branches. They want us to ditch hard cash and pay by contactless card and do all our banking online.
More and more of us are opting to do just that. It’s quick and convenient.
It’s estimated that more than five million people now lead close to cashless lifestyles. Recent figures show debit card payments have overtaken cash use for the first time.
And yes, its partly a generational thing with young consumers most likely to use contactless payments.
But there are still more than two million people who mainly used cash when shopping last year. They want a choice of payment options.
And to be fair they are often rightly worried about fraud and IT failures that leave you unable to make payments for hours.
I’ve heard people say card only payments are a symptom of gentrification in an area. Gentrification is blamed for a lot of things. Perhaps its progress.
The broad shift to cashless transactions seems inexorable, driven partly by a technology that even allows some of us to use our watches to pay for things.
But we are not a cash free society just yet. So should card only be encouraged or discouraged. What do you think?