Is the future cashless?
Published 22 May 2012 by Lucy Bower
Predictions that the electronic wallet would replace ready cash still haven't come true, as more people use real cash to help them budget.
Last night, the Channel 4 show 'Dispatches' investigated whether cash is dying out, as mobile and internet banking technology becomes more available. The programme found that ready cash is actually growing in popularity, as it helps people to manage their spending.
You can pay for all kinds of things electronically these days - from gig tickets and sandwiches to public transport. Mobile banking is also becoming more popular. Some experts predict that cash will be phased out altogether, leaving people to pay for everything with an 'electronic wallet' of some kind.
However, this documentary found that billions of extra pounds were withdrawn from ATMs in the UK in 2011, compared with 2010, and that even though electronic payments are more commonplace, there is still a place for real cash when you're trying to manage your finances and avoid overspending.
On the other hand, one problem with cash is that is can work out more expensive to pay for things that other people pay for electronically. Utility bills, air tickets and hotels can all work out more expensive when you pay in cash than when you pay electronically.
A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "A bank account that allows you to pay by Direct Debit or online can actually save you money when you're paying for things like utilities. If you're concerned about budgeting, the thinkbanking account can help you to manage your Direct Debits too - and keep aside enough of your income for essentials."