Are we headed to a cashless society?
WOMAN'S OWN|September 28, 2020
Are we headed to a cashless society?
The digital revolution is moving at an alarming speed, and we are leaving some of our most vulnerable members of society behind
SASKIA MURPHY, LIANNE LA BORDE

Cash hasn’t been king for a long time. Since the rise of contactless cards, online shopping and digital payments, we’ve been hurtling towards a world where spare change doesn’t exist.

In the past decade, cash transactions have dropped from 63% of all payments to 34%. If this decline continued on its current projection, it would mean Britain becomes cashless by 2026.* And the coronavirus pandemic has only speeded up this move, with people shunning coins and notes to both avoid spreading the virus and abide by social-distancing rules.

Cash and ATM use in the UK has almost halved since the beginning of the pandemic,** with free ATMs disappearing from our high streets at an alarming rate.

There is no question that contactless, card and online payments have their benefits – you can even pay using your phone these days. But is society leaving some people behind? The elderly, for whom cash has always been a way of life, the millions without a bank account,children saving their pocket money, or domestic-violence victims trying to save themselves? Woman’s Own investigates.

According to UK Finance, 2.2 million people still exclusively use cash, of which 1.3 million have no bank account.

Savings were key to my freedom

Sam* lives with her two children.

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September 28, 2020