Brits fear cashless nightmare without fun fairs, markets or pocket money

| May 22, 2009 | 0 Comments

Imagine a world without fun fairs, morning newspapers, local markets, community fundraising events, or greasy spoon cafés.

These are the things Brits would miss most if the UK became a cashless society, according to a new study published this week.

It’s not just buying candyfloss and riding the dodgems in the local park that Brits would mourn. They’d also feel cheated out of the opportunity to tip waiters and taxi drivers, and to give their children pocket money.

According to the study by ATM provider Bank Machine, the long term psychological impact of the current financial crisis means that Brits will prefer to trust notes and coins for years to come.

Respondents also raised worries about Britain becoming a surveillance society through their debit and credit card purchases being tracked, and concern about the UK losing the part of its identity that’s tied up in sterling.

The radicals among those polled cited concerns that a cashless society would make retailer resistance – choosing small independent shops and local markets over megalithic supermarkets and retail chain stores – difficult, if not impossible.

James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University, who helped to write up the study, said contactless payments, made by touching a card against a reader, would reduce daily human interaction.

However, payments association Apacs said the UK would not become cashless for a “very long time.”

Apacs spokesperson Sandra Quinn said: “People feel comfortable with cash and will continue to use cash – it’s a very good way of knowing exactly how much money you have and haven’t got.”

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