More than 10 million Brits would struggle to live in a cashless society that’s favoured by the economically secure, found a new report.
As well, forcing people onto a digital currency could lead to a loss of control over finances and spiralling debts, warns a study from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) commissioned by ATM network Link.
“For millions of people, their relationship with cash is critical to the way they manage their weekly budget,” said report author Mark Hall.
“Despite online banking and shopping becoming more common,” he added, “our research shows the percentage of the population wholly reliant on cash is unchanged.”
According to Sky News, the study found that a completely cashless society could lead to “increased isolation and reduced human connection.”
Those enthusiastic about a digital currency are the economically secure group, the study revealed. Of respondents favouring a cashless society, 85% ranked themselves as having high or medium economic security.
Of the millions that would struggle in a cashless society, many are the elderly and vulnerable, Express reports.
John Howells, chief executive at the UK’s cashpoint network Link, warned that around five million people are at risk of being left behind unless something is done to help the transition to digital.
“This infrastructure will start to fall apart unless something is done, and we are already seeing ATMs and branches closing at a worrying rate,” he said. “Our cash infrastructure is experiencing death by a thousand cuts.”
“We have five to 10 years to fix digital payments before cash becomes unworkable, and need to start planning how to get the new system working for all,” Howells said, according to Express.
Howells said the use of cash has fallen 40% since Covid and is “still falling.”
Two years ago, Howells warned that cash could be finished in two years.
Critics say a cashless society will lead to a surveillance state.
Last month, there were widespread calls to boycott Starbucks after one store in the UK posted a sign saying it would go cashless. Coffee lovers wondered if all the stores would go cashless, but Starbucks responded by saying this is not the case, and the change is limited to individual stores and their licensees.