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What’s the point of cash?

Dear Badger,

What’s the point of cash? With all this talk of ‘change machines’ around campus and a shiny new pound coin coming into circulation in March, I can’t help but wonder why we don’t just scrap physical currency.

Every time I walk onto a bus, I use an ‘e-ticket’, bought hours before my journey. When settling a bill with friends, it is much easier to use online bank transfers and ‘paypal’, than fumble around for the right change. Come to think of it, most of my transactions are paid for by card and, on another note, I rarely ever read anything that isn’t an e-book or available online.

With advances in technology, it is possible to pay for everything, everywhere, with nothing but a thin piece of rectangular plastic. Especially so in countries with ‘awkward’ currencies. For example, on a recent trip to iceland, I found that 140 Icelandic Króna is the equivalent of one British pound. I would not want to pay for a purchase with hundreds of coins and notes and, allegedly, iceland is relatively ‘cashless’; citizens and tourists having the ability to pay by card in all sorts of places.

I also feel that this could improve security (cyber crime aside). If someone were to steal my purse and it was full of notes, I may never get them back. However, if they were to steal my purse and it contained only credit and debit cards, I could cancel the cards and avoid any financial loss (bar my purse!). It is also a lot harder for criminals and the like to hide hundreds of notes of a smaller denomination than notes worth one hundred or fifty pounds. Surely these notes can be rid of? Even India acknowledges this and moved to get rid of some of its rupee notes.

Additionally, who uses coppers any more? Apart from the joy I experience when finding a ‘lucky’ penny on the street, I have no other use for these little, brown coins.

Now I’m not asking for immediate change, and who am I to discuss the intricacies of going cashless, but I simply do not see a wealth of argument for keeping cash and even designing new coins and notes.

A penny for your thoughts? I think not.

 

Yours,
Jessica Hubbard

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