Although digital advancement is positive for societal progression on the whole, it’s crucial to take into account the repercussions of going completely cashless. There are many people who can’t access digital payment methods due to factors like mental health difficulties, a lack of documentation, homelessness or their age.
In 2018, there were still 5.3 million adults in the UK - or 10% of the adult population - who are described as "internet non-users".
Global digital exclusion
According to the World Bank, around 1.7 billion adults worldwide don’t have access to a bank account. An estimated 100 million people were reported as homeless in 2011, 450 million people are known to currently suffer from mental or neurological disorders, and there are 617 million people aged 65 and over in the world - many of whom will struggle to go digital.
Before making steps to move away from cash, it’s vital that provisions are put in place to support those in society who can’t switch to digital payment methods. To ensure this, we need to establish a payment system that is universal, free to access and protects data on all social levels.
When you’re struggling with your mental health it can be much harder to stay in work or manage your spending, while being in debt can cause huge stress and anxiety – so the two issues feed off each other, creating a vicious cycle which can destroy lives.
Ensuring that money advice is routinely offered to people using mental health services would increase recovery rates, as well as improving the financial wellbeing of the 1.5 million people currently dealing with this terrifying combination of problems.
Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Institute
Global Payment Trends: The Impact of a Digital Society
Global Payment Trends dissects industry reports to see how digital payment methods have risen in popularity, and reveal how quickly we're moving away from cash. The report also looks at Swish, Sweden's mobile app, to see how many people are currently using digital banking and whether they're really ready to go cashless. Finally, the report sheds light on the members of society who would suffer in a digital society, due to their cash dependence. Focus throughout is primarily on Canada, Sweden, the UK and the US.
Data gathered from a range of reports, including Worldpay, Link, Riksbank, Swish, WHO and Mind.