The death of cash will bring lasting change. Not all of it good

We will no doubt see a further move towards cashless transactions – but it will take time, says Hamish McRae

Sunday 13 September 2020 16:27
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Covid-19 has seen many businesses ask patrons not to use cash
Covid-19 has seen many businesses ask patrons not to use cash

Has Covid-19 delivered a fatal wound to our use of cash? And if so, what are the effects?

The general rule about economic shocks is that they speed up trends that were already happening, and this one has certainly speeded up the switch out of cash payments towards card and phones. This is happening right across the world, though at a different pace. In the UK the proportion of cashless businesses has shot up from 8 per cent to 31 per cent during the lockdown. 

In the US the shift has been somewhat slower. Ahead of the impact of coronavirus, cash was still the most popular form of payment, though this year may turn out to be a tipping point.

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