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Contactless Trends : Is the UK moving closer to a cash-free society?


The world is becoming an increasingly connected place and we are living in a time of significant technological advancement. Not long ago the idea that you could speak to a machine and it could not only respond to you but solve problems and perform tasks would be something seen in Sci-Fi movies. Now that it is almost the norm to speak to your device there is no doubt that technology is making our lives easier and helps us to be more connected and efficient in everyday life.


But with every change there will inevitably be some resistance and adjustment required as new behaviours are encouraged. Looking at recent headlines it is evident within the banking and finance world there is a rapid advancement in the way we pay for things and how we access services. As we become increasingly digital and online-savvy it is no surprise that we are moving towards an increasingly cashless society, and as a result banks and ATM services are changing and consolidating their physical services provided. But what does this mean for those who still rely heavily on cash, can we truly move to a cash-free society?


Hill’s (2018) article in The Guardian highlights how different areas of the UK are adapting, trialling or facing difficulties with the move towards a cash-free society. It is clear that whilst some areas are thriving by moving to a card-only option, other more rural areas face more challenges due to unreliable phone line connections required to take payments. Most interestingly the National Gallery and the Christ Church in East Dulwich both implemented trials of contactless donations and payments, and both found that providing card payment options increased the amount of donations.

Deborah Myers, Head of Development at National Gallery commented “People donate more when they pay with a card compared to cash”. While Margaret Cave, the vicar,  hailed the trial a success stating, “I’m certainly not giving my card reader back! If I had my way, we’d be a cash-free church.” This indicates how the charitable sector can hugely benefit from the implementation of card payment methods and contactless payment technology.


We have blogged before about the impact on charities in our increasingly cashless society and here at Donate The Change we would like to help bridge the gap. We  enable supporters to donate their spare change in a way that is relevant to the digital world and fits with their normal everyday lifestyle. By innovating the way people can donate we can provide a solution that works for charities large and small and enables supporters to be in complete control of their donations and spending.


Whilst the UK is moving towards a cashless society it is still some way off other nations such as Sweden where the rate of cash payments has dropped significantly within the last few years. In all ecosystems there are active and passive drivers and it has been mentioned more than once that handling cash is expensive for banks so the trend is likely to continue and at a faster rate that we see today. It is therefore prudent for businesses and charities to recognise the moving financial and consumer trends and adapting their payment methods to best cater for the expectations of their customers. By embracing ubiquitous and scalable contactless technology and card payments, such as the holistic service offered by Donate The Change, charities will increase the amount raised in donations and also help to improve efficiencies and financial transparency.


To read The Guardian article and case studies in full click here.

To read more about the cashless society trends in Sweden click here.