Published on: August 9, 2019

This week’s post comes from our very own Martin Howe… Andrew is enjoying the first of his two weeks’ summer leave and has asked me to be the standard-bearer for this week’s News, Views and Truths – an honour he assures me!

I, myself, returned this week after my own summer break with my family. Two weeks living La Dolce Vita in Italy (pictured in last week’s blog).

Every year we intend to ‘travel light’ but this year was no exception in that we returned with excess baggage in terms of waistlines and luggage. The notable exceptions being my wallet and my wife, Nicola’s, purse – both of which were very light indeed!

It had occurred to me on holiday that almost all of our spending, from the Gelatos, to the Nastro Azzurros, to the Michaelangelos, was via plastic cards, rather than Euros. This got me thinking, what would a cashless society mean to us?

The Access to Cash Review, funded by LINK, the UK’s largest cash network, was commissioned against growing concern about the closure of rural ATMs and bank branches leaving people without easy access to cash.

Will the UK follow in the footsteps of Sweden, the most cashless society in the world? 10 years’ ago, 6 in 10 transactions were cash, now it’s 3 in 10.  Current trends would see by 2026, cash would still be in circulation, but it would only account for 1 in every 10 transactions. Should this occur what would we see and how would it affect the average person on the high street?

Consider the closure of banks in the High Street and rural areas, fewer ATMs, and the fact that retailers no longer accepting cash as payment – access to cash is becoming increasingly difficult. Whereas, the ability to transact online and purchase goods, often delivered to your door within hours, is ever increasing. The biggest impact in a decline of cash transactions will likely be on those considered vulnerable, those without access to bank accounts or living in a rural area; that’s potentially up to 8 million adults in the UK.

However, 36% of the UK believe a cashless society would reduce crime and generate higher tax revenues. Although recent high-profile IT failures question the reliability of digital, compared to ‘old-fashioned’ cash in your hand.

Just some food in this week’s instalment… thankfully, for me, it’s not yet more Italian ice cream!

In terms of markets, it’s been a weaker start to August with the UK based FTSE All-Share index down 3.8% for the month, while Global share values, as measured by MSCI Global Index, have fallen 1.2. Keep in mind, however, that these indices have gained 8.3% and 14% respectively since the beginning of the year.

Finally, I’d like to wish our clients an enjoyable weekend and, unfortunately, I had great plans for a rain-related playlist but, unfortunately, I don’t possess Andrew’s technical abilities… so please imagine the sounds of Travis’ Why Does It Always Rain On Me? or Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain

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