Businesses have been looking to move cashless where possible over the last few years from an efficiency perspective. There has been criticism over this due to the fact that it marginalises and excludes those in society without a bank account such as the homeless.
However, what businesses and banks likely did not forecast is that a cashless society would be necessary for public health. The average coin or note used to move between hands significantly more than it does now, however it’s a common known fact that money holds plenty of germs and yet we touch it as if we are the first to do so. Hence the reason for removing cash to help the public keep healthy.
With the birth of banks such as Monzo and Starling, bank accounts have become much easier to set up (it requires you to have a mobile device, and the set up in the app takes just 5 minutes) and your money's movements have become much more transparent. When you spend, the money leaves your account instantly, as opposed to in some bank accounts where you still don’t see the money go for 24 hours. It’s also easy to split the bill in the app (how many of us were blighted by that "split the bill" fiasco in our twenties “but I had the cheapest meal and drank water”). Not only are we moving to cashless by paying with card – but contactless enables us to pay by doing just that, not coming into contact with anything (except our bank balance). The contactless limit is moving from £30 to £45 and this is a shift. It takes approximately 8 weeks to form a habit, and these cashless habits may well be firmly formed by the time we emerge as a society from lockdown.
The UK ATM network Link says that a review of the country’s ATM network and business model is needed, and this current climate may well have shifted the use of cash forever. This seismic shift of how we pay for things got me thinking about what else has changed already and what habits will be forming. As businesses move to entirely virtual (no events, no face to face meetings) it’s essential that they can communicate to their users and clients easily, and it makes sense that writing content and sharing it is the way forward.
The figures, supplied by UK ATM network Link, may harbour a fundamental change is users' cash habits as the country's banks commit to raising the PIN-free contactless limit from £30 to £45.