11 reasons why contactless should never be king

Pound Signs In The Sky As A Sign Of A Windfall, money, cash

This weekend I went to Bath with some friends. Lots of street artists were around, from a tightrope walker playing the violin to some very talented buskers. Not one of them has a contactless machine for our donations! So out of my 7 friends only I was able to give any of them anything because my friends just don’t do cash.

But this is crazy. From the buskers to waiters who rely on tips to stretch their earnings, to vulnerable people who only deal in cash, we need to do what we can to preserve it. Here are some reasons why contactless should not become king:

  1. Closer eye on spending. For example with the envelope hack, you can take out money at the beginning of the week or on set days and only spend that. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. With contactless, it’s easy to overspend, especially as the limit is now up to £100.
  2. Vulnerable people will still be able to pay for things – I know of people with mental health problems and elderly that simply wouldn’t grasp how to use a card. It’s all well and good with the tap and go, but once a number needs to go in, then they are in trouble.
  3. Freedom of choice – I have seen some branches of Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, bars and more that refuse to take cash, so leaving friends in the embarrasing position of asking others to pay for their food/drink because the freedom to pay in a particular way was removed
  4. Software glitches won’t let you or retailers down – we’ve suffered when we can’t access our cash when networks have gone down or banks suffer from glitches. By carrying cash, we avoid the chance that credit and debit card payments may not be available.
  5. Tips and gifts – giving a waiter a fiver or sticking some money in a birthday card is often only possible in cash to ensure that the person gets it. We’ve been to restaurants where the service charge is included, but our waitress will never get the money!
  6. Smaller purchases make sense. We went to a cafe and after paying for our meal, my friend wanted a coffee and they said no to a card payment as that would cost them another 75p. Having just £3 in cash would have made that situation much less embarrassing. Or how about needing a drink at the airport, but no coins for the vending machine?
  7. Your purchases are your business. Banknotes and coins are the only form of money that people can keep without involving a third party. Cash transactions respect our fundamental right to have our privacy, data and identity protected in financial matters.
  8. Speed – bank notes and coins settle a transaction immediately. No need for multiple attempts as the card machine falters.
  9. Teaching children about money – cash is tangible and can help children understand spending and money easier than cards and machines. Can you imagine the tooth fairy paying your kid £1 via bank transfer?
  10. Cash only – from the chippy to the nail bar, some businesses are actually cash only.
  11. Holidays – some banks charge for withdrawals and payment abroad, but with cash, you know what the exchange cost in advance.

Would love to hear if I have missed any off this list.

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