The authors of a new book say the move to a cashless society is consumer-driven and an inevitable sign of technological progress, a ‘false narrative’ touted by UK businesses and banks and endorsed by politicians. It warns that it is being done.
Brett Scott, former financial industry worker, author of “Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets” said banks and big tech companies have framed the narrative that cash is the “carriage” of payments. Inevitably, it will be replaced by “cars” represented by digital payments.
But he said digital payments were mismarketed as an “upgrade” to cash, and said it would be more appropriate to think of cash as a “bike.” It is a healthier alternative to the automobile and a force against digital systems prone to corporate and political manipulation and technological failure.
Despite the move towards a cashless society, according to the Bank of England’s own website, £82 billion ($93 billion) worth of bill The distribution volume is double what it was 10 years ago.
It also said that “significant amounts of funds are likely to be stored overseas or used illegally, a so-called ‘shadow economy’.”
of bank of england Those who still have £20 and £50 notes will only be able to use them until September 30th, when they will be replaced by polymer banknotes and will no longer be legal tender.
According to banking industry body UK Finance, cash transactions fell from 56% of all payments in 2010 to just 17% in 2020 (pdf) and recent research Juniper Research The value of contactless payment transactions is projected to reach $10 trillion globally by 2027, up from $4.6 trillion this year.
Natalie Seaney, chair of the Cash Action Group, said the pandemic has only accelerated trends already underway.
“We can’t unplug cash until everyone can use it digitally.”
However, she tells The Epoch Times: Your ability to function in society depends on your ability to buy things. “
Ceeney said: Of course, the elderly and the non-digital are important, but so are the poor. Cash is the best way to budget. “
In 2019 she access to cash review.
Ceeney said: It turns out that the commercial infrastructure that supports cash has collapsed and has holes. We were obsessed with a cashless society. “
In 2020, then-Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak pledged to enact legislation to protect access to cash.
Then, in May of this year, the Financial Services and Markets Bill (pdf) was introduced in the Queen’s speech. This included an obligation for the Treasury Department to publish and periodically review its “Cash Access Policy.”
Sunak said he recognizes that many people are not using digital payments and still need access to cash.
However, Scott said: [Prime Minister] Liz Truss frames the narrative that cash is horse-drawn carriages, but there are still many people who use horse-drawn carriages and we need to give them more time. We are only urging you to delay the transition.
“They’re not disputing the overall narrative. The true cash propulsion is that it’s a bike and a bike is better. It’s about trying to create the power to fight back.”
“Cash is a data blocker”
According to Scott, banks, corporations and big tech companies such as Amazon all support the push for a cashless society. Because digital creates both fees and valuable data about what each consumer spends their money on. He added: “Cash is a data blocker. These big companies don’t like it because of the fees and the risk of losing data.”
“Cash prevents corporate dominance and maintains our autonomy,” he said, but “conspiracy theorists” believe that big tech bosses will work with world governments to rid the world of cash. ” added that it is not.
In the UK, the Banking Hub was invented by the Cash Action Group, which includes 10 large banks and consumer groups, as well as small businesses. It is a single place where people can bank in a community where all individual bank branches are closed.
The first two, located in Rochford, Essex and Cambuslang in Lanarkshire, are “extremely popular” with 96% customer satisfaction, according to Ceeney.
Earlier this month, 13 new banking hubs were announced, bringing the total to 25.
Several cash pilot projects have also been launched in December 2021. In this project, a small payment was made to a convenience store and a cashback service was offered to the customer.
Ceeney explains: In many cases it was something like £5.76 – people were withdrawing just the amount they needed. “
The project is currently being rolled out nationwide.
But although steps are being taken to improve access to cash, it is projected the UK could go cashless By 2026.
Ceeney is skeptical, stating: If I were to do that in the next few decades, I would be reeling. “
“The question is, can we digitize everyone? It is doable, but not without intervention.
“There have been segments of society who can’t afford or don’t want a new TV, and Digital UK has achieved that in five years,” she said.
However, Scott does not accept the digital television analogy, stating: Digital money is backed by cash. A bank account unit is a promise that it can be redeemed for cash. Digital is like a casino chip. It’s just a promise of payment, and trust in digital systems is based on access to cash. “
He noted that Northern Rock customers were queuing to withdraw cash from their accounts after a British bank that collapsed in September 2007 was overvalued in the subprime mortgage crisis.
Scott also pointed out that the Swedish government, concerned about financial instability and the danger of Russian cyberattacks, is taking steps to slow the move towards a cashless society.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the UK government’s Treasury Department for comment.