Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Future of Cash

Until the bank over the footbridge closed its doors and its cashpoint, the pub I work in didn't have a PDQ machine. If folks wanted to pay by debit card, we would send them over the footbridge to get cash. This was only five years ago. You couldn't get away with that now. The young people that venture into the pub nearly all pay exclusively by card. It wouldn't occur to them to get fifty notes out of a hole-in-the-wall before a night out. They look at me quizzically when I offer them cashback: What would I want that for?

Now that nearly everywhere, even the Temple Bar, accepts credit and debit cards; now that you can use your mobile phone to securely transfer money in an instant, it seems natural that cash will begin the slow slide into near oblivion. Because money is only really an agreement between two parties, it doesn't really matter what form that agreement takes. Cheques have basically disappeared in the last few years. Would you even know what to do if you received a Postal Order?

As if to herald the beginning of the end of cash, the British government has issued a new £5 note printed on plastic polymer.

In my other job writing the internet, one of the clients I blog for is a plastics manufacturing company based in Norfolk. Every week, I have to produce 300-400 words on something plastic-related for them to post on their website, so plastic actually being in the news is always useful. My editor won't let me write anything negative for these company blogs, but luckily I have this blog to air my true feelings about the new fiver.

5 Things to Hate About the New Fiver

  1. It can't be ripped in half, except for when idiots try really hard and then they rip in half.
  2. If you receive one that has been rolled up for some nefarious purpose in the Gents, it keeps rolling itself back up in your till.
  3. They are frequently scorched from idiots who "just wanted to see if it would melt".
  4. They stick together and then I have to be honest and hand one back.
  5. I have to endure endless conversations about serial numbers from people convinced that they will earn a fortune if they can find one marked AK47 (Currently trading on ebay for £4.24 with 6 bids and a day and a half to go).
I meant to keep hold of one of the new fivers for this photo, but I forgot.
This is all the cash I had on me.

Regular readers of these updates will remember that I chronicled my experience of a bitcoin windfall a couple of summers ago. When my investment increased by nearly half over a period of days. Fortunately, my local pub  (i.e. the one that I drink in not the one that I work in) accepts bitcoins so I was able to buy a few pints of Pegasus, before they lost their value again.

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