The Money Shot: change is good

Group of business people, one of whom has his hands thrust deep into his pockets
Stop jiggling your coppers in public, Malcolm...
"What will people stir in their pockets to break down awkward silences in lifts? It just doesn’t bear thinking about"
  • | by Derri Dunn

Credit and debit card operators have been cashing in on, well, cash, judging by the latest statistics.

According to a report from the UK Card Association, last year saw a 331% rise in contactless payments, heralding a shift from cash to card for low-value payments.

As we’re now able to pay for everything from coffee to buses by brandishing our plastic at a sensor, does this mean we’re galloping towards a cashless society?

More importantly, if that’s the case, what are we going to miss the most about hard currency?

Tossing a coin

How will we ever reach a decision about anything without a 50p piece to send spinning aloft?

Because ‘long number or magnetic strip?’ just doesn’t have the same catchy ring about it.

“Spare some change, sir?”

What will happen in place of someone thrusting a guide dogs collection jar your way as you leave Waitrose? What will we proffer in vain attempts to shush the Sally Army band tuning up at the end of the high street?

They’ll all be issued with card terminals soon – but how will you determine the value of your customary couple of coppers, 10-franc piece and old button?

Nervous jingling

What will people stir in their pockets to break down awkward silences in lifts? It just doesn’t bear thinking about.

Numismatics

That’s the collecting of rare coins to you and me. What will the numismatists do now? Accrue obscure debit cards?

Coin jars

That trusty hallway stalwart, the spare coin jar, could soon be consigned to history. The people who put those machines in the front lobby of supermarkets will be out of a job and we can’t pretend any more that it’s a sensible way to be putting aside rainy-day savings in lieu of a proper, grown-up savings account.

And if there’s no spare coin jar anymore, where will we forage for a few quid for a bus ticket as we run out the door?

Oh wait, someone already solved that one…

What will you miss the most about small change? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter

News in brief

Lloyds Banking Group was made to stump up a record £117m in fines for mishandling PPI complaints.

George Osborne announced that the government’s remaining 30% stake in Royal Mail would be sold off.

Energy regulator Ofgem decided that, from October, gas and electricity companies must tell customers what their cheapest tariff is, regardless of whether a firm sells it under its name or via another ‘white label’ brand.

This week on Covered

Dan Bevis relives the short history of the Mazda MX-5.

Gocompare.com launched its Gocollective group energy switching scheme.

Covered staffers recall the torment, terror and triumph of passing their driving tests.

Hurry back next week for another grin-widening salvo of the Money Shot. Until then, email us your letters.