A number of recent innovations could signal the beginning of the end for cash in our wallets.
Royal Bank of Scotland employees in Edinburgh are using a new type of payment card which requires neither a pin nor a signature.
And PayPal has spread its service so you can use it to buy retail items using your mobile phone.
Is cash king for you or is plastic fantastic?
Are you looking forward to an age where you no longer need to carry cash? Or are you loyal to those coins in your wallet?
What pros and cons can you see in a cashless era?
Read a selection of your comments below.
What happens to those people who are bankrupt or have an IVA? These people cannot get ordinary bank accounts.
How would one obtain a drink/food from a vending machine without using cash, unless they use a hole in the wall type method which will put up the price of the drinks/food.
Christopher Bird, Stroud
You would be crazy to allow banks have further control of the money supply. It is the central bank system developed in America back in the early 1900s that copper fastened the banks control over people's quality of life. This system is responsible for the money supply and hence the inflation rate. Further bank-led interference in the money system would be foolish. It will save the banks and inevitably cost the consumer.
John Graham, Australia
"Card only" is probably feasible, perhaps often quite convenient for commercial purposes, but how will small charity events - car boot sales, school fetes and so on, cope? When these functions expect to raise at most a few hundred pounds, can they expect financial charges to eat so heavily into their profit that it is no longer worthwhile to hold them?
Elis Warner, Kings Lynn
Having just discovered that my cash card was copied at a cash point in London while I was at Hyde Park to see the Foo Fighters on the 17 June I can not think of a more stupid way to give fraudsters access to our money. I was fortunate enough to notice this before too much money had been taken, though my boyfriend and brother's girlfriend have not been so lucky and have had thousands taken, no to mention the other 85,000 people that were at the gig who might not have even realised this has happened.
Ellenour Matthews, Oxford
The real reason for this drive toward a cashless society is the banks desire for further profit and control over all transactions and is based on greed. It is already virtually impossible to live without a bank account and these cards for small payments will soon become widespread and before long shops will not take cash due to pressure from banks and increased charges for cash.
Free Spirit (deed poll name)
Thank goodness we may be taking another step out of the middle ages! This "cash card" system was already working in stores, for parking meters, and so on in the Netherlands in 2002 - why is England so very far behind?
Bruce Allsobrook, London
A much better system than the RBS system, because it is closer to cash and would not generate a "data trail" is that used in Holland. Here the cash card is charged up (rather like an Oyster Card). If you lose the card you've lost the virtual cash just like you would with real cash. When the virtual cash is spent, the trader's bank account is credited and the receiving bank debits its virtual cash account. I imagine that if some banks rack up a surplus of virtual cash deposits and other banks' virtual cash becomes overdrawn they can sort this out between them, or via their accounts at the national central bank.
Arthur Rusdell-Wilson, Worthing
Isn't this another re-hash of the Mondex card developed by NatWest in the 90s? It was trialled in Swindon, as I recall, and was a mixed success. I can't ever see how we will get rid of cash though, as the cost of the infrastructure precludes small vendors (eg newspaper vendors) from accepting the payment.
The banks already have far too much control over our daily lives. I think it would be extremely unwise to trust them with any more. Cash in your pocket is a constant reminder of what you can afford. Another plastic card giving direct access to your account is just a further invitation to lose control of your spending as people already do with credit cards.
The end of the road indeed... but for what? This is the final nail in the coffin of liberty of privacy. I warn you now, this is quite possibly the dangerous development since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Don't come crying to me.
Tim Green, Sutton
So just how restricted will the reader technology actually be? For example, it seems obvious that there could well be cases where fraudsters can just come into contact with the holder of the card and gain a free read - like on the Underground in London, or other congested areas. Nice one, banks. Chip and pin has been shown to be insecure. Now we're to lose money by the contactless route too.
This is nothing new. I think expanding the Oyster card would be a better option rather than having two separate cards - one for travelling and one for small purchases. In Hong Kong, they've been using the Octopus card for about a decade now and is almost the same as the Oyster card, but allows the cardholder to use the card to make purchases in shops and restaurants as well as on transport.
They've been using this system for ages in Hong Kong - the Octopus Card. You charge the card with credit via automated machines throughout the city or at one of the numerous retailers who accept them. You can use them on public transport and at shops that participate in the scheme - 7-11 stores for example. It's terrific and, as usual, we're years behind.
This has been tried before unsuccessfully. Mondex is essentially the same thing, but it was slow and no-one really liked it much. All of those trials failed. Plus replacing notes and coin alters the money system in ways that are deeply undesirable. What, technically, would all the debt in the money system be based on if physical notes and coins are abolished?
Angus H, Edinburgh
I have now returned to using cash as I find it important to keep a very rigid control of my expenditure. I go to the cash machine and withdraw a specific amount which has to last me for a pre-determined period. I find it quite easy to lose track of my balance and thus get a shock! Not good. I am not - nor ever been - employed by the banking sector.
Peter Riches, Northants
I remember the VisaCash trial in Leeds in 1987. I was quite keen on it and tried to use the card but some shops had to get their VisaCash machine out of a cupboard in order to use it! The only retailer where it really worked as I remember was WH Smith. I hope the new card works and I think it has a better chance if it uses a card we all already have, ie the debit card.
Jonathan Mack, Leeds
London is the ideal test-bed for any cashless card and the Transport for London Oyster card is the ideal contactless card for this. To me it would be logical to use our London universities as testbeds as students don't have lots of money and make lots of low value purchases, and if it works on the campus it would work anywhere.
This has been in place in the Netherlands and France for years. As usual we will make a complete fiasco of adopting it believing we are trail blazing again, fact is in financial services we never are!
Moving towards a cashless society is the only way to combat the black economy in the UK and will also assist in the fight of illegal immigration as most illegal immigrants work for cash in hand. There will be no way out for those unscrupulous employers who exploit these people and defraud the Inland Revenue for both NI and taxation for their own enrichment (not to mention those tradesmen who have different prices if you want a receipt!). The government has every interest to promote this initiative to set up a level playing field and fairer system for those who are on P.A.Y.E.
What concerns me is those people that do not have a bank account/ or cannot get a bank account. What about them? Also, it costs business X amount to use cash, how much will it cost per transaction, and how much will it cost to lease the equipment each year to run this system? If banks want to save business money why don't they reduce their charges to them?
Alixx Skevington, Nottingham
They say a pin number will be required after so many transactions to prevent fraud. Great, just what we need, more pin numbers to remember. And, like others have said, our entire spending habits will be available to create consumer profiles which can be sold on to any company wanting to know who you are, what you do and how you spend your money. Furthermore, what if your mate wants to borrow a fiver till Friday?
Mick Deal, Milton Keynes
I would be pleased to see the end of cash, no more loose heavy coins in your pocket which you are likely to lose.
Alan Bartholomew, Uxbridge
I look forward to the time when we can do away with both cash and cheques. Cash isn't the real problem - it's very inconvenient to have to send cheques through the post for small clubs, societies and companies which don't have credit card facilities. Transferring money online within the UK is straightforward but slow, while overseas bank transfers are prohibitively expensive. This is the area that needs to be sorted out first.
Richard Porter, Maidenhead
Does this mean that every transaction we make would be compiled into a database with the time, location and details of the product? Surely this information would be so valuable it could get sold off and used to create consumer profiles. I don't like the idea of anyone having that much information on that many people. It will be interesting to see who owns this information. I'm sure it will not be us, the consumers.
Rob Aherne, London
Like Rob Aherne I am concerned about who may have access to this information and am certainly not convinced that any reassurances given by those whose interests will be served can be trusted.
Cash is king.
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