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The debate

Too many British rely on cash to turn into Cashless Society - 07/11/2021

In its new Behind the Headlines report ‘Short-changed: How the decline of cash is affecting older people,’ Age UK warns that being cut off from cash and banking services is tantamount to being excluded from society, and is a risk for many more of us than is often assumed. Even before the pandemic many older people still relied heavily on cash, with some being completely dependent on it. Findings from the Financial Lives 2020 Survey found that around 2.4 million people aged 65 and over in the UK relied on cash to a great extent in their day-to-day life – representing around one in five (21...

Doubt over cashless economy: how trust in cash increased during covid-19 crisis - 07/09/2021

The pandemic has had many surprising consequences for society. It has even impacted how we think about money. For instance, public concern about Covid-19 forced the Bank of England to assure people that the risk of infection posed by banknotes was “no greater than touching any other common surfaces, such as handrails, doorknobs, or credit cards.”   Still, some experts indicate that trust in cash may be down. This coincides with a seven-year acceleration in digital trends, with digital spending on apps and with cards on the rise.   Clearly, something has changed in the way...

Cashless Societies are no answer to Economic Crisis - 07/09/2021

The global economic crisis resulting from the pandemic has inevitably led to commentators focusing once again on the “cashless economy” debate. For some, the rise of cashless economies across the globe is an unavoidable step towards a global digital economy. For others, hard cash remains the backbone of fragile economies in poorer countries and a mainstay of individual freedoms and civil liberty in richer ones, and its removal would simply accelerate the already widening economic gap between rich and poor. Economic crises have been shown to increase the amount of cash in circulation as...

New Law to protect the access to cash? - 07/07/2021

Consumers and businesses will have a legal right to withdraw and deposit cash within "a reasonable distance" of their home or premises, under new government plans. This is good news for those who have noticed the number of local bank branches that have shut down in their areas. The proposals have been welcomed by campaigners who have voiced their fears that limited cash access hurts those who need it most- it's estimated that eight million people still rely on cash. The plan is to make sure that notes and coins remain within 1 kilometre of all businesses and homes but a consultation...

How Free ATMs protect many people from the worst sides of Cashless Societies - 07/05/2021

Nearly 60 areas have benefited from an initiative launched in 2019 by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network. It has installed several ATMs in places where consumers previously only had the option of paying to access cash. The average installation is saving the community around it £20,000 a year in withdrawal fees. In some locations, the free ATM means locals have saved as much as £40,000 a year. Around five million people are reliant on cash, including older people and those who are homeless. Nick Quin, head of financial inclusion at LINK, said: “These figures show the value free cash...

No cash, no freedom, for better or for worse, an Australian example - 07/03/2021

Jocelyn Wighton sits in her lounge room inCeduna and ­listens to a group of young men speaking loudly as they walk past her house. “Hear that?” she says. “It starts about 4pm and gets louder. The town really has not changed much.” Wighton, who is not Aboriginal and who is on a disability pension, is angry that she has recently been put back on the welfare card. She was ­initially given the card in 2016 but for the past two years managed to get off it due to an administrative loophole. Today is her 65th birthday and as she opens her mail she tells me why people like her should not be on...

Cashless society, or the new illusion of a virtual world - 07/01/2021

If you look up "cashless" on Google, you will inevitably find articles that argue the future is cashless and cash is old news. But…that isn't entirely true.   If you look up "cashless" on Google, you will inevitably find article after article both praising it and proclaiming it as the future. They are essentially saying "cash is old news." But…that isn't entirely true. And before you write me off as just another old school traditionalist, I'm actually a millennial, also known as a digital native. As such, I have seen how technology has changed and disrupted so many industries, but I...

Cashless Societies, Exclusive Societies? - 06/26/2021

Some people predicted that COVID-19 would be the demise of cash, but it has actually demonstrated the importance of cash in today’s economy, especially in times of crisis. Moreover, it has shown the devastating effect that a cashless economy has on certain groups of people. One critique of a cashless economy is that it potentially excludes vulnerable populations and those working in the informal sector. Taking away the ability to make cash transactions, particularly during times of crisis, can be destabilizing for those that might not have access to the Internet or a mobile phone. The...

Hong Kong, Myanmar, etc. Can Cashless Economies Become Limited Democracies? - 06/24/2021

As on every other continent, Africa is experiencing the rise of the cashless economy. The race to consolidate positions in Africa’s budding fintech space sees the top four telecoms companies battling it out for market share. African cashlessness is predominantly driven by mobile payments services — provided by the likes of Orange, Vodafone, Airtel Africa and SA’s MTN. In SA, cashlessness is nascent but being brought about through a “cash-lite” rationale, probably because of the 11-million or so unbanked or underbanked citizens in the country. More broadly, the shift in African spending...

Behind Cashless Economy, Mass Surveillance? - 06/21/2021

The relentless digitalisation of every day life since the advent of the Internet has led to many accepting as inevitable the eventual emergence of a cashless society. For the last few years, a fierce debate has taken place in the public sphere involving politicians, economists and sociologists alike, on the ethical boundaries of such a society and the threat it poses to individual freedom, privacy and civil liberties. There are logical fears that the eradication of cash would accelerate the already alarming disparities between rich and poor and leave citizens at the mercy of the international...
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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.










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