How would a cashless society impact you?

Discussion in 'Alzheimer's Society notices' started by SophieD, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. SophieD

    SophieD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2018
    Cash use has halved in the past 10 years, with notes and coins now handed over in 3 in every 10 transactions. Cash use is forecast to halve again in the next decade, while electronic payment methods are on the rise. This may cause difficulties for some people who find it hard to use digital services.

    Our Programmes Partnerships team is doing some work around the impact of a 'cashless society' on people with dementia and has reached out to Talking Point to hear your thoughts.

    Have you come up against problems where cash isn't accepted and using alternative methods is an issue? Is this something that worries you for the future?

    Let us know your thoughts below :)
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Yes. My SIL is dependent on me for a variety of admin matters as she is profoundly deaf, cannot speak and cannot handle ATMs. The only one she uses is Tesco for milk and bread etc. I have to lift and keep a supply of cash for her which she collects when it suits her. I did try to show her contactless payments but at 83 this concept was beyond her. I do have all her main bills on direct debit.

    Although she's an extreme example of an elderly person with a communication problem I would guess there are many similar who would struggle without ready cash.
  3. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    My dad would have been unable to buy anything for himself without cash. He got by with me helping him remember his card numbers etc. He lost the ability to use a cash point fairly early on. He couldn't remember his pin which led to some embarrassment in shops.

    Dad's only option was to go to the bank, where they knew him, and get cash out to spend.

    Towards the end he enjoyed taking us out for a meal but, again, without cash he would have been too embarrassed to attempt it.

    Before dad I used to support my aunt with shopping as although she hadn't been diagnosed with dementia and didn't have any behavioural problems she still couldn't remember her pin!!
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    #4 Beate, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    I love just being able to tap my card at the till for a payment under £30, and I haven't yet forgotten my PIN - but I would hate for a cashless society to happen. Am I supposed to pay my casual cleaning lady via bank transfer now? Car boot sales will die out. Some smaller stores/cafes and corner shops have a minimum spend policy for card transactions, or they charge you a fee, so if you're only popping in for milk and a paper, how are you going to do that without cash? How are restaurants going to deal with parties where everyone has to pay for themselves - are they really going to produce 10 bills for a party of 10 and accept 10 different card payments? The usual way is for one person to pay and for the others to reimburse with cash. I walked past a local Vodafone store the other day which had a "no cash" sign in the window. It's just epidemic, with no thought of he difficulties people might experience - and the ones above will be experienced by people of all ages. Now factor in elderly people drawing out their pension at the post office then putting the cash in a tin at home, and you'll have the perfect storm. Even now there are people who haven't exchanged the old £5 and £10 notes for new ones! And what happens if the technology fails and no one is able to pay for anything because the computer says no? It's already happened in the past that certain banks had a technical problem for a while and people couldn't pay by card and had to leave their shopping behind.
  5. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    I am already almost cashless. I don't have much opportunity to spend cash and there is little that I need to buy because I don't go anywhere anyway. I keep a small amount in my purse and it lasts forever. This is probably true for many carers. I meet friends once a month for lunch but not every month and spend less than a tenner.

    Dad uses cash for his shopping but I do that for him anyway using his cash. He couldn't use his card to save his life.
  6. SophieD

    SophieD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2018
  7. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    My husband, who passed away last summer, would have hated living in a cashless society.

    In the earlier stages of dementia it was the fact that he had coins in his pocket and money in his wallet that gave him a sense of security and independence - even when he started to lose understanding of the value of money. I think it was just the act of making/ seeing a physical financial exchange of money that helped him feel secure and at ease.

    He felt great pleasure from being able to tip someone, give little children a few pennies for their piggy bsnks, pay for his papers at the corner shop, buy bits and pieces at fetes, drop money in charity collection buckets, or make random small purchases at a charity shop. He also loved to receive small winnings from bingo, the lottery or similar fun games.

    I know that he would have felt cheated and upset if he'd won a fiver on the lottery but was paid by some kind of electronic money transfer rather than being handed the money!

    I believe that the introduction of a cashless society would have affected his enjoyment and general feeling of independence in society much earlier than it did.

    Money became a big issue with him at several points over the years. He would sporadically worry that he did not have enough or that he had forgotten to pay for something. Often, if I paid for something on my card, like a meal out, he was sure that we had left without paying because no money had physically changed hands (which is when I started making a point letting him pay the tips separately, rather than on the card). It was very unsettling for him if he didn't see physical money changing hands.

    In short, he would have felt very anxious and unhappy in a cashless society.
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I use cash quite a lot.

    My cleaning lady and also OHs podiatrist only accept cash. There is also a tea-shop in the square that will only accept cash, so I have to make sure I go to the ATM first.

    Then there is parking if we go out, I pay my hairdresser by card, but give her tips in cash. Do buses now accept contactless? Car boot sales, village/school fetes, antique/collectables and farmers markets all need cash. What about buying a poppy for remembrance day, honesty boxes at the roadside to buy eggs and jam or slipping your change into a charity tub? I put a £1 coin in the shopping trolley at the supermarket and at the hospital use the machine to get coffee and a chocolate bar.

    How will children learn about money without cash? Mum wouldnt have survived - she needed cash to feel secure. She forgot her PIN and lost understanding of bank statements long before she stopped being able to use cash.
  9. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I also often give tips in cash as it's the only way to make sure the people who served you are actually getting that money.

    As for buses, at least in London they are all cashless now. You have to have an oystercard with either a season ticket or money uploaded onto it. That of course isn't a problem for people over 60 with a Freedom Pass, thank God - until they lose the pass...
  10. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Can only agree with practically everything that has been said. I can still remember my pin, but there is the cleaner, gardener, podiatrist, hairdresser and some cafes that don’t take cards. That amounts to an awful lot of cash in my life! I pay everything I can contactless, but some cafes don’t take an amount under £10, even coffee and light lunch don’t come to that!
  11. gotanybiscuits?

    gotanybiscuits? Registered User

    Jan 8, 2017
    the beautiful south
    What about all those jars of coins that I save-up?
    They're all that's going in to my savings at the moment!

    And I still need to buy a Poppy every year.
  12. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    South Northwest
    #12 Andrew_McP, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    ***Warning, you are entering a tinfoil hat zone***

    My stance has nothing to do with dementia -- though I believe tangible money is probably important in the long, confusing decline towards incapacity -- and everything to do with freedom. Cash is my equivalent of the American right to keep and bear arms.

    Cash is a means of exchange between people, electronics is a medium of exchange between banks, even if they do it on our behalf. Losing cash means the banks -- no matter how well regulated (insert derisive sneer here) -- control all of our money, all of the time, creaming a small percentage of every transaction ever made.

    It also means that in any state of emergency the government can impose instant limitations on our finances. Which all sounds a bit paranoid, but the older I get, the less faith I have in anyone in power to make the right decisions at the right time. Panic can do strange things to people... as we are currently experiencing!

    Bottom line... banks, businesses and governments all want a cashless society. Reason enough for me to hang onto the filthy, bacteria-laden, cocaine-smudged stuff. It's probably good for our immune systems, and if life gets really dire you can always make cash tea and get a tiny high off the residues.

    On a less preachy note I'll add that since my income dropped to £64 a week and my pension hopes evaporated, I find it very useful indeed to stick to cash for routine needs. Every transaction is precious and meaningful that way; contactless and card payments slip effortlessly out of our accounts and add up quickly... which is fine if you want to be a good little cog in the consumerist machine.

    However, convenience always trumps common sense. I anticipate drug dealers, tax evaders and libertarian weirdos like me will be back to using clipped silver and gold coins before long. :)
  13. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    #13 Beate, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    I want to "Like" this post so much! Where is the Like button? :D

    It's actually an important point about the value of cash. I'm a big fan of Martin Lewis, the moneysavingexpert, and he also says that if you want to save money, use cash, as you have a physical proof of money having left your wallet so you might reign yourself in more. Card payments are perceived differently, and you often overspend because the money is sort of invisible, and you forgot to keep track on how much you spent.

    Most of us need to keep our money together, and using cash instead of card helps with that - it's just a psychological thing.
  14. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I would hate to be cashless.

    Having cash in my purse is convenient for small purchases, eg bread and milk, fresh fruit and vegetables. These purchases are small and I wouldn`t like to wade through a credit card check list for so many small amounts. I also need cash for the window cleaner, the chiropodist, the man who helps with my garden and the woman who helps with my cleaning. They do not have card machines and it would be unfair to expect them to have them.

    When we were a family and even when there were two of us, I shopped on line every week. Now I only shop on line once a month. I still need fresh produce during the week and wouldn`t want to have to use a card in every shop.
  15. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I've been to restaurants where multiple people have wanted to pay by card, they just bring the card reader to the table and go round each person and check they've got the right total at the end.

    Several of my daughter's friends don't normally carry cash, using their phones to pay for everything, so the younger generation will grow up without it.

    When I did various Christmas markets, all the professional stall holders were happily taking contactless.

    And all the buses round here do contactless.

    I pay for my bits and bobs (milk/bread) in the local coop with contactless, as it's quicker than fumbling with change.

    One of the main cycling cafes I use is cash only and I always tend to only carry cash on the bike, but a lot of my friends (most are at least 10 years older) pay by card.

    I also am aware that a lot of bank business accounts actually charge a smaller % for debit card transactions than they do for cash deposited.

    For VAT registered businesses with the requirement to have software compliant with the MTD (making tax digital) regime which goes live at the end of this month, card transactions will be preferable as less time to keep the accounting records.

    Mum had issues when she couldn't pay for something by post with a cheque, although she had happily put her card details on the payment slip for 5 or so years, so this confused her long before she forgot her PIN - just part of going back in time with dementia.

    I would prefer to just carry my card than cash and contactless is often quicker than cash (except for my train ticket - which is slow with a card so I pay cash - as lots of others do).

    Given the way my mum adapted to a fob doorkey and paid by card where she could in the early stages of dementia I think she would have adapted fine to cashless - she liked to be able to see everything on her bank statement and so would have liked to see the transactions, printing out lots of mini statements at the bank.
  16. nellbelles

    nellbelles Volunteer Host

    Nov 6, 2008
    My husband was blind and always only had £5 notes in his wallet, I really feel for the disabled din this one.
  17. Lynmax

    Lynmax Registered User

    Nov 1, 2016
    If someone asks my mum (pwd) if she wants to pay contactless, she thinks they are asking if she wears contact lenses! Luckily she can recall her PIN number as it is the year she was born!
  18. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    My husband's geriatrician does not use electronic funds transfer so we have to pay either by cash or cheque.
    Who carries a cheque book these days?

    My husband can still use his debit card but places like the bridge club only accept cash. It is only a few dollars to play and would be hardly worth their while to invest in technology. They do use computerized scoring so it's just a matter of being practical.
  19. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    I do, Lawson! But the last time I used it was last June, to pay for the boiler servicing- he doesn’t do contactless!
  20. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Like!!! :)

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