Coronavirus and the Death of Cash

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Paying with cash has been on the decline for years. Latest detractors to cash, such as credit cards, debit cards and devices increasingly becoming the more convenient alternatives.

Enter coronavirus, and cash has now essentially been banned; and for good reason. Although the WHO says there’s no indication that handling cash presents a higher transmission risk than touching surfaces! It has been confirmed that touching surfaces does potentially heighten the risk of transmission.

So cash is being advised against, and retailers are taking heed. Customers are in some cases being turned away if they can only pay with notes or loose change.

Tap and go or pay by device means no hand contact. Under the circumstances, that’s by far deemed the safest way to pay. And once started on that path as a cashless customer, the temptation is usually to stay perhaps not completely, but mostly cashless.

Banks have been disappearing from the high street for years. Mergers, acquisitions, Internet and then mobile app banking, as well as banks moving their operations entirely online, have changed the way we bank for good.

The less cash we use the less we’ll see ATMs, which have already been disappearing from high streets and have instead been popping up in convenient albeit fewer locations such as petrol stations and high street stores.

The current coronavirus crisis is clearly a defining moment in so many ways. The death of cash is almost certainly one of the defining milestones. Quite simply more people will turn to technology to pay. In terms of the more traditional demographic feeling compelled to switch to technology, this is something of a revelation.

Of course not everyone is happy to welcome in a cashless society.

Cashless commerce based on slowing the spread of covid-19 whilst being the absolute priority is not the only consideration.

Threats to business sustainability and employment security as well as the growing prospect of recession is now a global phenomena. When our national economy is threatened, or the very banking institutions in which we place our cash are no longer seen as the safe bastions and custodians of our cash, what do we do? we turn to our cash and remove it from the banks.

There will be pressure to hang on to cash. But the argument against it is quite simply overwhelming.

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