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The death of cash has often been foretold, but it still seems a very long way off happening. Much the same is true of print publications. The digital age may encroach on the territory of its analogue predecessors, but in many spheres it seems incapable of dealing the final blow.
Mark Wadsworth recently created a poll on people’s use of cash, which I was happy to share as it is a subject relevant to readers of this blog. This helps to explain the large number of respondents. I’ve shared a few other polls with Mark in the past. The results are pretty conclusive – that 96% of respondents use cash at least once a week, and 44% every day. I answered “most days” simply because I don’t necessarily spend any money every single day. The original poll and comments can be seen here.
We are constantly being urged to use credit and debit cards, especially since the introduction of contactless cards, but it seems that cash is proving very resilient. And one of its prime strongholds remains the pub trade. The kind of people who are happy to flash a card in the pub are generally those who don’t really buy many individual drinks.
Personally, I tend to use cash for all routine regular transactions, as it makes it far easier to budget and control my expenditure. I use cards for buying petrol, typically two or three times a month, internet purchases and big-ticket items such as clothes and electronics.
It’s been widely pointed out that using a contactless card rather than cash exposes you to the risk of unwise spending on a night out where your judgment might be impaired by a pint or two.
If you depend entirely on cards, you’re left at the mercy of bank computers, which recent events have shown can all too easily fail. Most of the extensive grey and black economy runs on cash, which isn’t going to disappear overnight. The same is true of most ordinary local pubs, and CAMRA beer festivals. Cash isn’t going anywhere any day soon.
There is also the point that surrendering all control of your cash to banks gives the government the opportunity to control it and, in extremis, confiscate some of it. Keeping some of your money in cash is a good way of safeguarding it.