The end of the world is not getting nearer for cash. It will be years and probably decades before it comes to an end. “The truth must be told to the population: our generation will not see the end of cash,” said Isidoro Alanis, president of Global Exchange Group. Alanis was one of the guests at a meeting organized by El Confidencial and Aproser, the Spanish private security association. Entitled ‘Physical and virtual money: the future of cash in society’, the meeting tried to answer the eternal question of whether we will one day stop using notes and coins.
The answer, judging by the guests, is clear: it will be many years before it happens – if it happens at all – because cash has a number of advantages that alternative payment methods have not been able to match. And the facts speak for themselves: “In the first quarter of 2019, we transported 1.9% more cash in our country than during the same period of 2018, representing a 4.6% increase in value,” said Eduardo Cobas, general secretary of Aproser. “96% of Spaniards consider it a fundamental right and want the freedom to choose how they pay,” he added. According to Cobas, different factors push certain sectors of the population to adopt cash: “It is a more tangible instrument and enables a greater sense of control over spending and savings; it enhances the privacy of the buyer and is also more secure”.
Another defender of the idea that cash will not disappear was economics professor Santiago Carbó :”There is talk that societies would be safer without cash, but the reality is that today it is easier to duplicate a card than to counterfeit a banknote.”
Three times more cash in circulation than in 2007
Since 2007, the circulation of banknotes and coins has trebled which complicates the theory that usage is declining. How are we going to respect the freedom of a 70-year-old who lives in the country and does not use another payment method? According to Alanis, the average transaction of a client that changes money at the Global Exchange Group is about €180 and remains “the only payment method that can be used by 100%”.
The emergence of electronic commerce has not dealt cash a death blow, In the words of the speakers. There are options to buy goods and pay them upon delivery, in your home.
“Cash is the only payment method that puts the user if full control,” said Jimenez, the general director of cash and branches at the Bank of Spain.
According to the speakers, there are other causes that encourage the use notes and coins. Natural catastrophes or events such as a blackout or systems outage are another proof that there are times, when other payment methods have proved insufficient. The last significant case occurred just a few days ago in New York, which ran out of electricity for four hours..