A politician's wet-dream is a cash-free society because every payment can be tracked, taxed, examined and stopped if necessary. It also means no bank-runs because it will be impossible to cash-out in a cash-free system.
Cash-free means that every payment is done electronically with no need for notes and coins at all. On the surface this seems like a great idea; no messing about for the right change, etc. Unfortunately there are many big problems with it :-
Privacy every payment, along with time, location and item(s) are recorded. There is a good chance that information is passed/sold to other organisations.
Reliability Anyone paying attention to the news can't help but notice that bank IT system failures seem to happen every year now. Things are getting so bad that many recommend that you always have cash available just in case.
- 2023 - Nationwide crisis as millions face having 'no cash over Christmas' The reason for this is that the bank is experiencing a technical issue which means transactions across the country are still pending.
- 2023 - Nigel Farage row: minister warns banks against closing accounts. Anyone thinking of opening an account with a British bank will probably think twice after reading this.
- 2022 - Metro Bank App down "Our App is temporarily down due to a technical issue. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused. The App will be up and running again as soon as possible, but while we fix it please use Online Banking" - Twitter.
- 2022 - I wouldn't bank on a cashless society yet, says Ann Widdecombe "when an announcement was made that the refreshment service was suspended because the card machine would not work. The obvious answer was to take cash instead but such a common-sense solution was contrary to company policy, so passengers had to go without."
- 2022 - Halifax customer left unable to pay anyone as online banking 'not working' A Halifax customer was left unable to make payments, after they found their online banking system wasn't working. (Express)
- 2021 - Customers are reporting credit-card payment crashes at restaurants and stores across the US, including Chick-fil-A and Ikea. Businesses across the US are accepting only cash as their credit-card payments systems are down. (Business Insider)
- 2019 - Barclays tops list of banks with most IT shut-downs Long-suffering bank customers are facing an average of 10 digital banking shutdowns a month, according to new figures. (BBC)
- 2018 - Visa system goes down (ComputerWeekly) - TSB Meltdown (The Register) - NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank hit by online banking glitch (BBC) - HSBC joins TSB (The Register)
- 2017 - SWIFT warns banks as hack sophistication grows (Reuters)
- 2016 - 2015–2016 SWIFT banking hack (Wikipedia)
- 2015 - RBS/NatWest meltdown (Independent)
- 2014 - Lloyds and TSB customers unable to pay or withdraw cash from ATMs (The Guardian) - JPMorgan Chase hack was a simple two-factor auth fail (The Register)
- 2013 - NatWest hit by system failure less than a year after last outage (The Guardian)
- 2012 - RBS meltdown blamed on human error and cuts (Channel 4)
The cashless society is a con - and big finance is behind it The Guardian.
Hang on to your cash. This dash to digitise payments is dangerous The Guardian.