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It is mere days since 30 July, the 50th anniversary of England’s glorious – and still unique – triumph at a major tournament in the 1966 World Cup.
As England’s performance this summer showed, many things have changed in the last half-century, but one thing that has remained is the continued role of cash in our society.
An article from a 1966 edition of the Financial Times identified a trend “towards a cashless society”, citing the improvement in computing power, the rise in use of credit cards and so-called “money cards” (debit cards by another name) that would supposedly consign cash to the annals of history. Contrary to the New York correspondent of the Financial Times in 1966, however, the cashless society has not yet materialised, and there are a number of reasons for this being the case.
Sacha Nauta of The Economist recently investigated the pros and cons of continued cash usage, and the reasons for its continued prominence in our retail experience.
One aspect of cash highly-valued by consumers is its flexibility, offering a relatively hassle-free payment option. It remains the case that those in lower-paid jobs are more likely to exist in a cash-only economic environment, without access to major lines of credit or “plastic banking services”.
Never is the truer than in the UK convenience market. According to the ACS Local Shop Report, 80% of transactions were conducted in cash last year and, although the range of different payment methods that consumers use grows by the day, cash shows no signs of disappearing just yet.
Offering shoppers choice in how they can pay in store is as critical as getting your range right or ensuring you’re marketing to your customers effectively. 75% of PayPoint shoppers, traditionally known for paying in cash, also use debit cards in store to pay for their shopping, with over 40% wanting to use contactless cards.
The original articles from the 1966 edition of the Financial Times, identifying the trend towards a "cashless society".
Cash has remained a central plank to our payment ecosystem, and should remain so for many years. The cashless society is a thing of the future right now.
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