The Wall Street Journal published an article about protesters from the
Keep It Cash movement resisting shops that won't take cash.
There's another revolt brewing in the English heartlands.
Let's boycott the shops that won't take cash—where are they? Debbie Hicks yelled into a microphone in the town square on a recent Saturday. A few in the 200-strong crowd murmured some names—a coffee shop, a bakery.
OK, we can do this, Hicks said.
It's not too late!
Some 200 years after textile workers smashed newfangled looms here during the first stirrings of the industrial revolution, other rebels are worried about a newer technology: tap-and-go bank cards and smartphone payment apps.
Actual cash changes hands in only around 15% of transactions in the U.K., pushed out by the speed and convenience of using a card or phone. In parts of London, cash has become something akin to a prison currency like ramen noodles or cigarettes, circulated among panhandlers or those on the margins of society.
An unlikely coalition warns that by giving up cash, people could be losing more than they bargained for.
Bank-note printers have pooled resources to fund academic studies to demonstrate how cash is an important piece of infrastructure. Simon Youel at Positive Money, a London nonprofit focusing on financial inclusion, says cash is inherently democratic.
By going card-only, bars and restaurants are trying to pull in what they see as the right kind of customer, usually younger and more affluent, he said.
They're sending a signal about who's welcome and who's not.
People around the world have been embarrassed at times when hair salons, pubs or salad chains asked for plastic and they had only paper.
Some are standing up for paper money and have no plans to fold.
In the U.S., Steven Ferry carries in his wallet—in addition to cash—a supply of small cards created by one of a growing number of pro-cash groups that tout the benefits of physical money. He hands them to cashiers and leaves them on checks at restaurants.
I paid cash today for a reason :-) the cards read in part.
Using cash can be inconvenient…but what if it's worth it?
Ferry, who lives in eastern Tennessee and is semiretired, isn't opposed to credit cards but makes a point of paying with cash as often as he can. He and his wife bring hundreds of dollars on twice-monthly errand runs into town.
Among pro-cash sympathizers are the brothers behind Right Said Fred, the group known for 1991 hit
I'm Too Sexy.
We were working with an old people's home and a homeless shelter, said one of the brothers, Fred Fairbrass.
Without cash, those people are absolutely stranded.
Brett Scott, author of
Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets, says a power struggle is set to grow over how people pay for stuff. McKinsey projects the digital-payments industry will be worth $3 trillion by 2026, much of it generated in Asia, particularly China. Cash, Scott argues, provides freedom, anonymity and security.
So, were there protesters when landlords stopped accepting payment in eels?
To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Paper Money Diehards Refuse to Fold
Wayne Homren, Editor
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