In Five Years the Vast Majority of the Cash Will Be out of the System

by Sarah Grotta 0

The use of cash as a preferred or second most preferred payment form in the U.S. has been well documented. Business Insider reported on a speech given by Mark Barnett, CEO, MasterCard UK, that suggests cash will all but disappear in the next five years….at least in the UK and Ireland:

Barnett told Business Insider at the Money2020 conference in Copenhagen last week: “By the time we get to another generation, 30 years down the track, will there be any cash? I very much doubt it. The idea of carrying coins — 2p, 1p, 50p all cluttering up your pocket — it will be an anachronism. It will seem as antediluvian as carrying a pouch full of gold.”

Granted, it is in his job description to paint a bright future for card based transactions, but Mr. Barnett also believes that there is a relationship between cash and many of the ills of the world:

Barnett says: “We [MasterCard] think a world beyond cash is a good thing. Wherever you find high levels of cash — I’m not saying there’s a causal relationship — but you get high levels of poverty, you get high levels of crime, difficulty in doing business, high levels of corruption, low levels of tax collection. I think in the end it’s a good thing, a world beyond cash.”

One of the drivers towards less cash is contactless cards, which if correct, could suggest another reason why the US may be hanging onto cash longer than other nations, as contactless has really failed to take hold here:

“One of them is contactless, NFC [near field communication technology]. That’s been around for 7 or 8 years but it was really only when we got TfL [Transport for London] so you could start using your credit or debit card on the tube, that it really took off.

“We see that now spreading out. People get on this tube, then they buy their coffee, then they buy their lunch, then they buy a drink and so on. That grew five times in a year — 500%. What it’s doing is ripping cash out of the system very rapidly.”

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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