THE Echo took to Southend High Street to ask residents one key question – will cash continue to be King or is the future card and contactless payments.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic, cash use across the UK has plummeted with many favouring the likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay rather than carrying notes and coins around.
At the same time, a number of shops have moved to “card only” payments and many car parks have ditched cash in place of payments via mobile apps or online.
Despite the view that ditching cash would have a huge impact on elderly residents, it was a mixed bag when the Echo spoke to Southend’s residents.
Many admitted that they will always prefer cash, however others have insisted they are tech-savvy and love paying for things via contactless payment.
‘Cash is so important’
Roger Robinson, 73, from Eastwood said: “I think I will rue the day when we can’t have cash anymore. Both cash and card serve a purpose so it makes sense that it should stay.
“There are a small number of people who don’t have access to bank accounts and would be struggling without using cash. I think I would cope with going contactless, but it wouldn’t be my preference. I prefer being able to pay things in cash, but it does make sense to pay by card if you spend huge amounts of money.
“For me, I prefer cash, but I do understand I may be considered a bit of a dinosaur with these things, but I’d like the ability to have a choice whether to use contactless or cash personally.”
‘Cashless is horrible’
Evelyn Sulliban, 70, from Southend said that going completely cashless would be “horrible”.
She added: “I prefer to use cash and I always have done. Same with when you go in these shops, I won’t go on self service checkouts. I think people need cash and older people know what they’ve got, they don’t want to go online to check all the time.
“I will use cards if I have to, but I always use cash. I try to avoid using my cards when we go out.
“How will you pay for things without cash? I try not to use my card and when I go out with my husband, he always uses his card, but I don’t as I’m very dubious with what could happen.”
‘Cash has to stay’
Trevor Bell, 79, from Westcliff, said: “I don’t want to use cards, but I’m forced to use them. I’m 100 per cent against going cashless. Going cashless will cause a lot of problems. I’ve got friends who can’t use cards, or don’t have them. I’ve got friends who won’t go to certain places because they are card payments only.
“I’ve just been to Southend Pier and it’s cards only, no cash. It’s going to cause a lot of problems, people won’t visit any more. We’ve got to keep our cash. It has to stay.
“We should be given the option whether to keep it or not, if people want to use cash, then they can, if people want to go contactless, that’s their decision. There are businesses that don’t want to use a cash register anymore and it does go wrong.”
‘I am safer without cash’
Southend resident, Robert Sealeaf, 75, said: “The thing is, going cashless has worked out well. You feel a lot safer without carrying cash around.With a card you can carry it everywhere, with cash you have to be more careful. I think it’s worked out.
“Online payments are a pain in the backside though, especially with banks closing down, the excuses banks have used are stupid. There’s only one bank here within ten miles and that’s NatWest. I haven’t got any concerns about going cashless at all. The banks have moved me to use more online options of payment recently, and I think it’s easier because I can check how much money has gone into my account.”
'Not everyone will cope'
Dee Driscoll, 80 from Southend, said: “I use contactless, but it has been difficult not carrying cash around anymore. Sometimes I donate money to the homeless on the high street, I can’t give them any money without cash. I don’t have any cash in my purse, so I feel like I can’t help.
“When I changed from using cash to now mainly using contactless, it wasn’t that hard of a switch, I found it alright. I have an online banking account and I’ve had no issues with it. I don’t think everyone’s going to be able to manage it if we all go cashless. It will be tough for elderly people because everyone’s expected to have a passport, own a drivers licence, and have a computer and they don’t, and they can’t adjust. That’s a problem.”
‘I worry about scams’
David Sulliban, 72, said: “I’m worried about scams. It’s easier to get scammed online than it is face-to-face. You can normally tell when someone is scamming you but if we all go cashless, we won’t be able to tell.
“I had my card cloned once but luckily there wasn’t much on it at the time, but they used it for gambling.
“I’m not too bad with using cards overall, it’s just that I prefer using cash. Some places you go to on the high street don’t take cash payments. I’m completely against the idea of a cashless society, I have got a card, I just used it for a shop, and that is OK, but we should still keep cash.
“Even though I use a card, I wouldn’t go into shops that didn’t give you options.”
‘Transition was easy’
Patricia Peters, 76, who used to live in Southend but had recently moved to Hadleigh, said: “I use contactless and a card most of the time.
“The transition from cash to using card for me was easy, I’ve used it for quite a while now.
“I don’t do online banking though, I can’t do that. I forget all the things you need to do for it but, it’s nice to have a bank you can go into and get physical money out.
“The only problem I think, is for a lot of people, is that contactless isn’t seen as real money. I think it’ll make people overspend.
“I think going cashless is what the future will be like, I don’t know really. I must admit I don’t carry cash at all.”