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Cash vs cashless challenge

Posted by Future Forum (Admin) 3 months ago

Help us to understand how and why you make payments the way you do!

Banknotes will remain a central form of payment for some time but as we look to the future, we want to know what you think money will be like and what this could mean for you.

To help us understand this we are tasking the people of the UK to undertake our Cash vs Cashless Challenge for a week. 

How can I take part?

• It's simple...If you usually pay with cash, we're asking you to go cashless (this can include debit/credit cards, Apple/Android Pay, cheque etc.);

• and for those who are usually cashless, we challenge you to use only cash for a week.

• We would like you to log your experiences of the week, and then please share them with us by commenting below.

What would we like know? 

• Why do you choose to make payments the way you do?

• How easy/difficult was it to make payments in the opposite way to normal?

• What/where were the main challenges or benefits?

• Has the experience changed or cemented your views on how you will make payments in the future?

Please share any key examples with us too! We'll be reviewing all of the feedback received to help us understand any trends in the way people choose to make payments, and how this might help shape the future of money.

This post was edited on Nov 1, 2018 by Future Forum

This post has 1 subscriber

Comments (25)

Florence (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

I work for the Bank in Central Southern England.  I am on the road all the time, visiting businesses.

I always have coins in the car to pay for parking and bridge crossings.  Relative to a year ago, it feels as though there are lots more places where I can now pay my parking without cash, but there are lots of places where coins are the only way forward.

At my sailing club, last year we could only pay for food and drinks by cash.  This year, we have a card machine and lots of members seem to love contactless!  

I often hear people telling me that the broadband technology is not always there to enable them and/or their businesses to do online transfers.  At times, I am told cheque books are still very handy – I thought they had more or less disappeared. 

As I get to closer to London on my travels, there looks to be less and less use of cash, and more and more waiving of smart phones and watches over card machines.

But perhaps that’s just my personal impression and the new cashless technologies are spreading evenly across all areas of the UK and all of our daily walks of life?

SABP says... 3 months ago

If the moderator uses more than one form of payment, why does the incompetent poll only me to specify one type of payment?


Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago
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Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Thank you Shelia. Our team is updating the poll!

Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

I agree with your comment Florence that London is moving more towards contactless. Working in London I never have cash on me - paying for travel whether that be tube, bus or uber it is all contactless.

When i go out for lunch, more and more places either accept contactless or have there own app now where you can put your table number in and split the bill between friends.. again contactless!

I went out to visit friends in Essex and was completely thrown when one place would not accept card! I think i have definently adapted to the 'contactless' way of life.

I'll looking forward to taking part in this challenge, planning on doing it Monday to Sunday next week - cash only! I will feedback on how I get on. It would be great to hear from others how they get on with this challenge?

Florence (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Excellent Shelley. If you're going cash only, I will go cash less Monday to Sunday then! I am in Surrey, Dorset and Hampshire next week. Will feedback too. Can't wait to read how everyone gets on...

Phil Rolfe says... 3 months ago

I use cards and have done so progressively over the last few years

The introduction of contact less payments across London and other major UK cities has made cash pretty redundant.

A year or so ago when I went to a football game at Arsenal it was cash or charge, now it is Card Only and so if you want anything from a cup of tea, to a burger or a scarf it is card only.

Its the same on the tube, it is either Oyster auto top up or contactless, I wold not even know where to go to buy a ticket with cash - I guess the machines take cash but I do not use them.

The last time I got cash out was so I could buy a poppy, although the bigger sellers now also take contactless / cards which I guess is a response to changing trends.

Contactless is very easy and am in a position where I can manage my money easily, i suspect that if it had been available when I was younger I would have found it more difficult to keep track of my finances but then the Apps help with that too.

For me cashless is the way forward and with more accessibility I see it as an unstoppable force

Andrew (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

That's a really interesting contribution Pwrolfe, thanks. It is interesting to hear that Arsenal games are pretty cashless affairs these days - it's a different story in the lower leagues where I watch football, though that's beginning to change too. The difference in the pace of change between cities and rural areas is a theme we're interested to explore through the Future Forum, as is the impact on charitable giving. It is fascinating to hear you can pay for a poppy using contactless!

Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Good comment! And good point about the Poppy sellers - I've even noticed this with buskers now too, they have a barcode you can scan and donate rather than putting change in a pot! Really a sign of the future!

Robert Taggart says... 3 months ago
Speaking as a provincial metropolitan (Manchester +), cashless is readily available in the chains but it is still 'balls' in the independents. Sooo dammed frustrating!
Ivoni Mataj says... 3 months ago

It would be interesting to see the format birthday presents would take in the future for younger generation - the current trend is replacing gifts/toys with "cash" as they move closer to teenage years!



Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Good point Ivoni! I never thought of this before - however, I do think there is a movement towards 'cashless' as in there are now banks that provide bank accounts specfically for children to recieve pocket money into! I was fascinated by this information, as I think it shows how the future is changing.

Ivoni Mataj says... 3 months ago

Thank you @Shelley. Children bank accounts seem an innovative concept to develop children negotiating skills and perhaps become more responsible but could make parents more distant and less included in those decision?

Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Good point! It will be interesting to hear others thoughts on this too.

Gary Pettit says... 3 months ago

I agree with some of the comments already posted in that small transactions, such as car parking or simply purchasing a single item from a newsagent are areas where cash is king.  Yes, you can pay for car parking by telephone but it can be a real frustration where you just say, "Use cash, it is quicker". 

Equally, I would not  contemplate carrying £300-400 on me with a view to purchasing white goods, for example, so the debit card provides a degree of personal security.

For me, I have tried the challenge (before I was even aware of it) but spending £100  at Tesco in their self service or scan tills can be a pain, as you try and feed notes in one at a time, hoping it will not reject them.  And there lies another problem, where some payment machines (say, for car parks) do not provide you with the change.

Turning it on its head, I find solely using a debit card for everything uncomfortable.  It just does not feel right paying 70 pence for an item by waving your card around.  That is possibly just a culture thing but I am of the opinion both facilities have their place in our economy.

There are also concerns of a cashless society, including:

1. Security.  Apart from cloning you hear of scammers being able to get close and a card reader picks up your details.  Before you know it someone has made a purchase on your account.

2. You drop a £10 note and you have lost £10, although other cash remains available.  You lose your card and your are in difficulties until that card can be blocked and a replacement obtained.

Shelley (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Thank you for commenting Gary! Some interesting thoughts here!

SABP says... 3 months ago

I will NOT comment until you fix the way my name is displayed to correspond to what I requested.  

Michelle (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

I’m sorry you’re still having difficulties with your profile. Unfortunately only you have access to change it. I will resend the instructions in a message.

SABP says... 3 months ago

It now seems to have changed.  But I want your assurance that you have changed the registration form to make it clear to ALL users that they should not enter their name when this is requested.

Michelle (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago
This comment has been removed
june gibson says... 3 months ago

I imagine that the people posting are younger than I  and embrace paying for even small items by card.  So be it - I probably won't be here when society is totally cashless.

All cashless transactions hinge on there never being a catastrophe causing screens to flicker off. Debit cards are indeed mobile and handy but only work so long as the electronic  back up works, otherwise screens flicker off or can be hacked. I bank with TSB and was glad I do not bank on line.

I note that cashless/DD is great for the heads and shareholders of big concerns - lots of savings and more profit for them! How many banking jobs are going???

By the way, I am curious re Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies - isn't that a way for those up to no good to deal large sums of money without BoE or government knowledge? Again such transactions hinge on electronic back up never failing.

Florence (BoE Moderator) says... 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts - you mention some very interesting as aspects on technology.

With respect to your points on crypto currencies, there is a specific topic on the Forum here that you might find helpful to subscribe to https://bankofenglandfutureforum.co.uk/post/624590?forPhase=23049



Rebecca H says... 3 months ago


I think this current discussion is really interesting. But I think it is crucial to remember that we are probably viewing this scenario from an angle of privilege. Clearly we all have some form of internet access readily available to us. It is easier to view future scenarios from our own perspective but we shouldn't forget those who may be less economically fortunate.

The future of money appears to often focus on the future for those who have a large amount of it. For example if you are currently living in the UK and living in relative poverty you may not, at the end of the month, have enough money in your account to take out £10 from a cash point. You also probably do not have access to some of the technology required for contactless phone payments. You also possibly do not have access to internet banking and the information about finances accessed by the internet. If you do have access to the internet you are likely to be targeted by pay day loan companies and sucked into a spiral of short term loans with ridiculous interest rates.

I don't mean to come across as critical but I think it is really important not only that we think about the future of money from our own perspectives but also from the perspectives of people who may not be able to vocalise their opinions due to a lack of technology or information available to them.


Gillian Hale says... 3 months ago

I have direct debits for bills, but use cash for everything else. I am on a low income and it is important to me that I can see where my money is going. I also have children and am trying to teach them about making money last and saving. To them, the money isn't real when you pay by card. They think that you can just buy whatever you want and there will always be money for it.

Linda McPhee says... 3 months ago

I could not take this challenge, because as much as I am able, I buy my food in particular, but also things like holiday gifts, from small, local producers. One can be paid through bank transfer, but local street markets, etc., rely on cash. The challenge is possible only by denying them income and taking money out of our local economy, which I will not do.


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