With self-distancing, most shops, Post Offices and supermarkets prefer contactless payment. Having just been asked to pay for some shopping from my neighbour, I’ve just realised I haven’t carried cash for weeks and in fact don’t have much.
Have we accidentally become a cashless society and if so what does that mean?
For transacting with shops and businesses, there is no doubt that debit cards and contactless are easier, but how will we complete informal transactions? For my neighbour cheques are no good as they are isolating and so can’t pay them in, so cash it is. I will just have to sneak out to a cash machine, luckily there is one only a few hundred yards away, however with cash becoming less used and the internal payments for LINK processing being cut, we are starting to see fewer free cash machines.
I guess we will we revert to the situation pre the boom in cash machines, where we had to plan our cash needs more carefully taking occasional trips to the Bank or Post Office to draw cash. Will this prove difficult for the elderly or those with limited mobility or are there enough Post Offices and shops offering cash-back to meet their needs?
For technophiles, other countries have systems where you can make payments between mobile phones, though I have no experience of these and wonder whether we need what is in effect a parallel banking system.