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19 January 2019

The Future Debate over the Future of Cash

The decline of, or future for cash is not a new topic. The potential for cashless technologies to disrupt traditional forms of payment has been around ever since the advent of credit cards.

So why was 2018 the year when “cashless” seemed to move from being a slow-burn to having apparently unstoppable momentum? One would certainly think this was so judging by the headlines, and by the evidence that in some countries, cash usage is declining at a dramatic rate. Why is this so when, contrary to this, cash in circulation isn't declining and is still at the heart of payments for significant numbers of people?

People outside of the banknote industry are now waking up to the pace and consequences of cashless developments. And they don't like it. The realisation that a cashless revolution leaves the poor, the unbanked, the underbanked, the young, the elderly and those without good internet connections behind, is unsettling a lot of the people around the world.

Cashless payments leave a data trail, which lies at the heart of the business models of payment service providers. The inability of such providers to protect people’s data, your data, leaves an open door for payment and identity fraud, with all the consequences this can bring. Cashless payments are simply not as reliable as cash and the consequences of security breaches and technology failure feel open-ended and far-reaching.

Choice of how to pay is important for people. Personal freedom to have a choice, confidence that no entity in the payment landscape has a monopoly, the comfort that there is always a safe fall back option matters to people. If cash is driven out and volumes fall, the cash infrastructure will go as it becomes uneconomic and unprofitable. Once gone, it won’t come back.

All of the above will be discussed at the Future of Cash during the panel discussion on Wednesday 20 February led by Brett Scott; Amy Burr, Federal Reserve; Jan Binnekamp, Dutch National Bank; David Hensley, Cash Services and Jonathan Dharmapalan, eCommerce Mint.

Time is running out to make your arrangements for Athens

 

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