Surveys tell us cash is king and cash is dead

Cash is still the preferred method of payment for the vast majority of people in the UK, crowed a survey from Wincor Nixdorf. But at the same time a conflicting survey from Barclays and Barclaycard found that more than half of consumers believe cash will become extinct.

Cash: as popular as ever.

What are we to make of this slightly contradictory research? It seems that we all like using cash but that we won’t be able to use our preferred method in the future. This doesn’t exactly sound like giving consumers what they want.

The drive by the payment world to convince shoppers that they don’t really want to use cash continues unabated. And to some extent this is true – the Wincor research found 63% of people would be willing to move towards a cashless society. But they would only do so if the right infrastructure was in place and cash was not an option.

These seem rather big obstacles. It’s hardly likely that the distribution of cash will suddenly cease, and with regards to the infrastructure point – the ‘right’ back-bone is far from being in place. There are many cash-replacement card types out there, NFC solutions aplenty, and numerous contactless initiatives but none of them is fully convincing consumers and retailers in sizeable numbers.

The infrastructure for a cashless society is not yet there.

Rather entertainingly the Wincor survey found 32% of people felt they were more in control of their finances when using cash, while Barclays/Barclaycard found 17% think card payments allow them to better track their spending.

This not only shows that 51% of consumers have got no idea about their spending but also suggests that many industy surveys give us just as little idea about consumers’ spending.

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