Cash may disappear by 2050…

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I think the recent estimate last year from LINK was something like 2036, so this would be in line with that.

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Probably the same year the last bank branch will have closed.

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Exactly, if anything 2050 seems a long way away. I don’t want to be mud-slinging, but I also doubt that a materials scientist would have the best insight into this major economic trend. It strikes me as approaching the issue from the wrong angle, overly focusing on the “warm and fuzzy” physicality of cash.

Not doubt that’s part of the reason for it’s continued use, but it’s only a small part of the picture.

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I firmly believe cash will be here until cheques go. As there are no real plans to stop those at moment I think it’s safe to say there will be a few more years of use.

Perhaps cards my go first? Instant bank transfers for retail or just virtual cards if you insist on having one.

And cheques won’t go until postal orders go.

I’ve said this before, but it makes sense to me that cash could go before cheques.

Cash requires processing that’s much more intensive than imaging cheques, so I would imagine that it could be feasible to keep cheques for longer.

Cheques could also be a useful replacement for the kind of person to person payments that technophobes currently use cash for?

There was a significant hassle factor to cheques prior to the introduction of imaging, but that has now greatly reduced.

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Well for me, irrespective of any argument supporting retaining physical cash, my own position is that cash use is now so infrequent, it’s basically dead to me. I now actively avoid where at all possible, businesses that insist on cash only. That may seem unfair, but carrying physical cash for me personally, is just a pita.

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Yes with cheque imaging it’s even possible that some of the decline of cheques might be reversed. They’re easy to deposit and the clearing times are vastly reduced.

There are definitely scenarios, particularly for businesses issuing things like refunds, where cheques are superior to the back-and-forth of obtaining somebodies bank details and then getting somebody to actually send the payment.

I think cash, however, will be largely gone by 2050 - the infrastructure required to manage cash is really expensive and at some point it’ll hit a tipping point where it isn’t worth maintaining any more. The only thing that will save it is the government legislating that it must be kept - but it isn’t really in the governments interest to keep it either.

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I think I’ve mentioned this before on another forum but I recently paid by cheque for the first time in my entire life. Had my boiler serviced, and the guy doesn’t have a card reader.

He goes “I can give you my bank details for a transfer, or you write a cheque.” So I wrote a cheque, the guy snapped it right there and then. Payment complete. It was actually surprisingly efficient.

The plumber wasn’t some old technophobe guy either - he just found it easier than the whole sort code, account numer, CoP, double and triple checking of bank transfers :+1:

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I paid my plumber using his sort code and account number as soon as he finished the job. He got his money within seconds. Job done.

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I agree: as such transfers are far better than cheques. But particularly for one-offs the need to double and triple check sort code and account numbers can be a bit of a pain (not to mention the need to authenticate with PINSentry, or whatever).

The biggest downside of bank transfers now, though, is CoP, to my mind. CoP is such a pain in the real world!

Agreed and the point about the infrastructure was also part of what I was getting at with cheques as well. Cash infrastructure is much more physically intensive, and hence costly, than the largely digital infrastructure of cheques these days.

Me too, I wouldn’t want to pay in cash and if somebody else wanted paying in cash they would have to have an extremely good reason, or they wouldn’t get my businesss.

Covid has just heightened my already existing aversion to it as a payment method, really it has been the final nail in cash’s coffin as far as I’m concerned.

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I think of this as more user error. Once people have got used to it, they will know what the name on their account is and therefore be able to tell customers what they should put. It’s not being aware of this currently that is causing problems - with things like trading as vs ltd company names on business accounts.

CoP, when it works, is great - and you don’t have to double and triple check everything as you know that a match is a match! So no need for ambiguity and hence it can be much quicker.

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Thing is, that I for example still don’t know which name to give people to pass CoP on our joint account. Barclays won’t tell me, and extensive trial and error has not helped me yet either.

CoP as it stands is pointless. It only conditions people to accept non-matches, because it’s often impossible to match.

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Vinyl records did all but die, -in the late 1990s and early 2000s you couldn’t give them away because nobody wanted them. Now, for various reasons, they’ve made a big comeback. I hope we don’t see the same resurgence with cash!

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Often it only matches one name for joint accounts. If one party was added on to the account later, then the “correct” name to use is the first party who originally opened the account.

Maybe I’ve been lucky, or you’ve just been unlucky, because I haven’t had any problems with CoP. I don’t doubt that there might be some hiccups with it, but I can’t believe these are that frequent.

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Me neither. I found sometimes my middle name was wanted and sometimes it wasn’t, but any “confusion” (and I mean that lightly) was worked out easily with trial and error.

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I’ve brought this up before but my own personal concern, speaking as someone who went months without spending any cash during lockdown (I had a pound coin in my pocket to unlock the supermarket trolley!) that if we are talking abolition of money across Europe, there will remain countries whose “cash free” ecology excludes tourists I’m thinking of Sweden, and the Netherlands who have systems specifically exclude non-residents. It would be an enormous leap for a large number of other countries (like Germany) whose economy remains cash-based in the main. Germans have a huge sentimental attachment to cash and a huge distrust of cards (and foreign cards in particular). It would be odd for us to abolish cash, but then not other countries.

Additionally, it will be a brave government who introduces this against a welter of public anxiety from newspaper generated angst concerning “fraud” and “the effect on small businesses”.

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