Cashless Society: What are the pros and cons?

Should we go completely cashless day-to-day? Or do you still enjoy the jangle of loose change in your pocket, or slipping a bank note or two in your grandkids’ birthday cards?

In our latest article, we weigh up the pros and cons of a cashless society. Read on…

Pros of Going Cashless

The move towards electronic and contactless payments increased rapidly during the pandemic. That’s the word from the Unbiased site, who add that such a development has been gaining moment for years.

Minimising ‘unnecessary physical transactions’, says the site, going cashless as a society offers a few advantages. We look at some of them, below:

A Reduction in Crime

Many believe that a cashless society could mean a reduction in financial crime – but how true is that?

In this piece, NorthRow – a London-based company that aims to reduce the effect financial crime has on individuals and companies – say: “Not only are cashless transactions faster and more convenient, but there is a wide belief that they could lower crime rates. The reason being is there is no money to steal, launder or evade tax because there is a far greater audit trail for digital transactions.”

“Corruption is also curbed with cashless transaction, as the generation of black money is hindered to a far greater extent”.

The piece goes on: “For all the positives of a cashless society you cannot escape the inevitability of increased cyber-crime, privacy issues and data breaches. It would also rely on a 100% uptime to ensure there are no technical issues like outages or downtime which could prevent transactions being processed.”

Easier Management of Money

If you’re someone who finds it a hassle to keep heading to the cashpoint – or the bank – to top up their wallet with fresh notes – going cashless might benefit you.

‘The need to store, protect, withdraw and deposit physical money disappears’, states Unbiased.

While 39-year-old Laura from Lancashire isn’t keen on the idea of going cashless, she also isn’t someone who regularly carries notes or coins with her.

“I can’t count the number of times I’ve been caught short in the past, with no spare change when I need to ring a taxi – I’m so glad Uber now exists! Aside from that, though, there aren’t many instances where you need to use your debit card these days.”

Less Chance of a Future Pandemic

In the pandemic, fewer people used coins and notes to purchase their shopping and other essentials.

With that in mind, Unbiased suggests that ‘less physical contact in the everyday economy minimises the potential for future pandemics to gain traction’.


Cons of Going Cashless


Privacy and Security Could Be Compromised

Identity theft and compromised personal information are just two reasons why some might be against going cashless – since both could be closely linked to abandoning coins and notes in favour of debit and credit cards.

By paying digitally, you leave behind what’s known as a ‘digital footprint’. Financial institutions could monitor said footprint and many worry about the risk of their data being tracked or harvested by big businesses.

Registered Financial Services companies are audited regularly by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This offers some peace of mind that your money and bank details are safe with us; you can find out more about how we’re governed here on the Unity Mutual site.

Some Brits Could Be Left Behind

If the UK moves towards going completely cashless, some Brits could well be left behind. This Access to Cash report (published before the pandemic, in 2019) backs this up, stating that one in five British citizens could be left behind by a transition to digital-only transactions.

Sixty-four-year-old Caroline from Lancaster is ‘sick to the back teeth’ of being asked, by the assistants in her local bank, to make the move to online banking.

“I don’t want to move my accounts online, and I don’t like the idea of going cashless either.”

She says: “I like to tip people and to give my grandchildren money – it’s much more exciting to give a child, say, a ten-pound note than do a bank transfer. I like to put coins in charity boxes too.”

Rural Communities Could Be at Risk

Poor broadband and mobile connectivity issues could put rural communities at risk if society were to go cashless.

In a cashless country, those who live in the countryside might instead find they have to up the number of trips they make into bigger towns and cities, just to ensure they can get hold of the essentials.

Would this be a problem for you, too? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Are we heading towards a cashless society, though?

‘The UK is leading the shift towards a cashless society along with some Scandinavian countries, while Italy and Germany are still high cash users’, states Graham Mott of Link, the ATM network, in this piece for The Guardian.

While figures from the company show withdrawals in some parts of London ‘slumped by 60% in the four years to last May’, Graham tells the site that there are limitations to how far cashless payments can stretch.

He says: “Most people will go out with some cash, or at least have some at home as a contingency,” he says. “It is important that cash access remains.”

How do you feel about society potentially being ‘cashless’ in the future? Let us know – join the conversation on Facebook.

If you feel strongly about this subject and don’t want to live in a society that doesn’t use cash, there is a cashless society petition, set up by – you can view it

Until next time…


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