Is cash about to leave the high street for good?

Is cash about to leave the high street for good? image

A pub in South London has gone completely cashless, for a good reason. Operations director Arber Rozhaja decided to take action after yet another break-in at the Crown and Anchor Pub. After looking at the volume of cash transactions at the pub, Arber was surprised that only between 10% of the total revenue was in fact cash.

London Village Inns, who own the pub in South London decide to go all in with card transactions only. It made sense, and it’s safer and in many cases more convenient for the pub group. But does it sit well with their customers?  Well, there have been one or two complaints from customers who still want to use cash. Of course, there would be, and the pub chain anticipated it.

The staff, however, have welcomed it. It’s altogether safer and more efficient for them too. They don’t have to worry about counting the cash at the end of the night and securing it away. And, there’s no more transporting the money through the town to the bank. Obviously, cash can leave an individual exposed to robbery whereas digital money doesn’t have that problem. The pub also makes it known that it’s a cashless pub via posters dotted around stating that there are no cash transactions. One poster reads: “Apologies, but it is the digital age.”

Customers can use their debit cards and credit cards via the merchant facilities, contactless options which include Apple Pay and other digital payment options. It now seems at this bar cash will get you nowhere. They can’t buy drinks or food with cash – it’s 100% card.

A growing number of pubs are following suit with more expected to ban cash sales in 2019. It seems what started as a deterrent to ward of more burglaries has turned into a savvy business decision.

Over the last two years, there have been many businesses in the UK who have opted for no cash transactions. We have seen cafes and pubs so far but are retailers also ready to make the change? In Sweden for example, only 1% of all transactions are now in cash. That’s an impressive statistic, and it seems the rest of the world are heading that way too. Other countries are seemingly embracing digital transactions faster than in the UK. In 2018, 4735 cash machines have been removed, according to Payment sense.

Other research groups such as US-based McKinsey are insisting that cash will be with us for a long time yet.

Some customers prefer cash for privacy and security reasons whilst some areas still don’t have great connectivity due to poor telecoms coverage and power outages.

Research groups suggest that digital currency will not replace cash completely, not yet anyway, people prefer a choice of one or the other. In China, for example, the retail sector sees over 80% of those businesses trade in cash. And, any business that only accepts digital currency is reprimanded by the banks.

There are ethical considerations too, the poor or homeless who don’t have bank accounts are limited to where they can go for commodities. In some cases in the US, there has been legal action brought against companies only trading in digital currency for this very reason.

So, it would seem we still have a long way to go before a completely cashless society, but it is coming, and those businesses who move with the times will undoubtedly survive and thrive.

“We are also seeing a growth in the merchant cash advance sector with more pubs and restaurants displaying a higher level of turnover on their credit and debit card transactions on their statements.”  Rich Wilcock, Director of Sorodo. “There is definitely a growth in merchant and digital transactions in the UK”

In 2020, Covid-19 dealt a crushing blow to UK businesses. Those who were able to trade could only take contactless payments (for good reason).  As we progress forward, this required shift has seen businesses adopt cashless payments and contactless transactions only. See these articles for more information on the best credit card machines and iPad POS systems for your business in 2020.

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