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Is the price for a cashless society worth paying?

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is the first step of financial inclusion
May 4, 2017
Tags : Cash, inequality, Social Inclusion, Unbanked, United Kingdom
Going cashless has many hidden repercussions that we have not even started thinking about yet, as the example of the schoolchildren on British Airways.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

In January 2017, British Airways announced that they stopped distributing free food and beverages during flights. Furthermore, the company is now refusing cash for in-flight purchases, meaning that passengers need a credit or debit card to buy snacks and drinks. As a result, it was recently reported that a steward refused to give a bottle of water to schoolchildren because they had no card to pay for it.

This example perfectly illustrates the kind of social exclusion that a cashless society would create. The young generation – who has no access to banking services yet – would be completely left behind. Besides, seniors would have to adapt to using digital instruments although they often never used internet or a touchscreen before.

A shift to cashless would also allow the government to monitor every transaction closely and record all financial activities. In their effort to promote electronic payments, the authorities usually argue that increased monitoring of financial flows would eradicate tax evasion and help detect terrorist networks. Nevertheless, critics contend that the anonymity and privacy provided by cash play an important role in our society and represent a human right for many people.

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