Cashless Payments – a blessing or trouble?

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With multiple forms of cashless payments available it’s so easy to go without cash. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Credit/Debit cards (chip and pin or contactless) provide us with more convenience, but at what price? They remove the physical barrier of parting with cash, making it easier to give in to those small but often repetitive purchases. £2 here, £2 there seems like nothing but it quickly adds up.

What I love about them…

Don’t get me wrong I’m not against cashless payments – I use them all the time. For me they make it much easier to track spend. With each purchase you have a line by line statement, which makes budgeting a dream (well maybe not a dream but easier :)).

Cash purchases mean you have to do that manually, making it less likely you’ll keep track, especially if you’re doing a lot of spending (think of the volume of transactions you make in a month).

What I don’t like…

The physical barrier involving parting with your cash is no longer there. Tempted by that fresh cream doughnut? Tap and it’s bought. It’s not to say the price can’t serve as a deterrent but there’s nothing quite like handing over notes (or coins) to make you think twice about whether you need to purchase something (maybe it’s just me?!).

We over-consume already, so is this just sending us further? Ultimately we are responsible for that decision, although the cash-free alternatives sure do make it easier. Forgetting your purse or wallet is now no longer an excuse not to purchase. So long as you have your phone, (with most people this is highly likely), Apple and Android are there to assist with their respective pay offerings.

So what can you do to keep tabs?

Sign up for online banking (if you haven’t already) so you can review transactions at your convenience, then review regularly.

If you think you may go crazy, many accounts have include alerts facilities that can notify you when you’ve spent a certain amount – make use of those facilities.

Create a budget or improve your existing one – if you are overspending it suggests you current budget isn’t working. Tracking your spending in detail for a month will highlight differences between what you say you are going to spend and what you actually do.

Switch to cash where possible – particularly for those variable/non-essential expenses, taking out only what you’ve allocated – once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Get your money system in order – once your money is paid into your account automate payments to bills, savings, retirement fund etc to ensure what you spend isn’t taking away from something else.

PIN IT FOR LATER


So what are your thoughts on cashless payments? Do you find yourself spending more? How have you curbed the temptation to splurge? Leave a comment and let me know.

The next post will be in January, as I take some time to enjoy the festivities with the family. So until then I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See you in 2017!

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2 Comments

  1. March 7, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Great post, this is an issue that merits much wider debate. I won’t use contactless, I use cash most of the time even for large purchases. I see a whole load of problems with the march towards the abolition of cash – loss of privacy, increased fraud, rising debt, and it won’t make a jot of difference in eliminating criminal money laundering. There is a correlation between card use and rising debt, and theft is increasingly moving from physical theft of cash to online theft. I have no problem at all in doing my budget manually, and I would argue that putting some extra time and effort into maintaining a budget helps everyone become more focused and disciplined in their financial management.

    • msmoneymaximiser
      March 11, 2017 / 6:20 pm

      Hi Jen. Your points are great! I guess many people just focus on the convenience which is the upside, but not the price at which it comes. Taking that step back to really look at where your money is going will definitely lead to better financial management. I’m surprised the contactless impact isn’t discussed more widely, as my motivation to post came from the impact I’d seen on my own spending! So it just makes me wonder how it impacts those who have a head in the sand approach to their finances.

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