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Nearly the entire United Kingdom carries cash, indicating that its citizens may feel some needs unfulfilled by banking and payment apps.
According to a report by the Post Office, the vast majority of the country, around 95%, still carried cash, with the average wallet containing at least £26. Fewer than 10% were ready to transition to a cashless society. Additionally, over 20% actually preferred using cash for certain purposes and purchases, illustrating that payment apps may not have served all needs required for consumers to trust them completely.
Several uses still preferred for cash
According to the study, cash remained popular for a variety of uses including buying food, paying for parking, transportation, paying for services such as window cleaning, and charitable donations. Several of these may include greater friction when paying with banking services, for example using card readers or syncing up payment account details instead of simply handing over some cash. Others may include privacy reasons, such as for charitable donations, and still other cases may include paying migrant workers or others without access to the financial system.
Privacy concerns in particular may keep some users from fully committing to a cashless society. Popular payment app Venmno has had issues in the past exposing users’ transaction history in its entirety to the general public. Mastercard has also engaged in purchase data sharing with Google, closing the loop and filling in the information gap provided by in-person purchases. Cash has none of these privacy drawbacks, potentially explaining its lingering popularity.
Digital cash can solve both roles for the consumer, though not possible ulterior motives
Cryptocurrencies such as Dash can fill the roles of both cash and payment apps, offering the best of both worlds to the consumer. Similar to payment apps, Dash can be sent to anyone electronically with ease, is convenient for online payments, and can be used efficiently with point-of-sale business terminals. Similar to cash, Dash has virtually free transaction fees, instant settlement, can be easily given to anyone regardless of account or AML/KYC verification process (a fast app download or a paper wallet can be used), and keeps all consumer transactions private.
One role that Dash does not fill, however, is that of bringing the entire economy under strict analysis. While all Dash transactions are publicly verifiable on the blockchain, and while several services support Dash to facilitate total AML/KYC and tax compliance, the choice to link one’s identity to one’s funds, as well as reveal where transactions are sent publicly, lies with the user. If a society seeks complete oversight over all its financial activity among all its citizens, Dash may not be the preferred financial system to use.