Reporter who shuns online banking and shopping defends cash use

Sam Lennon, a reporter for KentOnline, has revealed that he has never banked online, shopped on Amazon, or used an outdoor cash machine. He says he prefers the old ways of paying with cash and posting cheques, and thinks that some modern developments are overrated.

Lennon, who has been a journalist since 1997, says he is used to cash and finds it helps him think about how much he is spending. He also fears that online banking and outdoor cash machines are vulnerable to fraud and cyber attacks.

He says he has seen friends and family fall victim to rigged cash machines, and worries about losing his financial privacy if he banks online. He also argues that having no cash stops the simplest of payments such as tipping waiters and donating coins to homeless people and buskers.

Cash is Freedom campaign

Lennon’s views echo the Cash is Freedom campaign, which is against a central bank digital currency. The campaign claims that money dependent on the internet is susceptible to theft, hacking, and surveillance, and that cash is essential for personal freedom and social inclusion.

Reporter who shuns online banking and shopping defends cash use

The campaign also warns that a digital currency could lead to negative interest rates, which would erode people’s savings and force them to spend more. It says that cash is a public good that belongs to the people, not the government or the banks.

The campaign has been supported by several MPs, academics, journalists, and civil society groups, who have signed an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to protect cash and resist a digital currency.

The decline of cash

Despite Lennon’s and the campaign’s defence of cash, the use of physical money has been declining in recent years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to UK Finance, a trade association for the banking and finance industry, cash payments fell by 35% in 2020, while contactless payments rose by 12%.

The report also found that 13.7 million people in the UK rarely used cash in 2020, compared to 7.4 million in 2019. It also estimated that one in four people used cash once a month or less in 2020, compared to one in ten in 2019.

The report attributed the decline of cash to the lockdown restrictions, the reduced availability of cash machines and bank branches, and the increased acceptance of digital payments by retailers and consumers.

The future of cash

Despite the trend towards a cashless society, UK Finance says that cash still has an important role to play in the economy and society. It says that 9.3 million people in the UK relied on cash in 2020, mainly those who are older, poorer, or more vulnerable.

It also says that cash is still widely accepted by businesses and preferred by some consumers for budgeting, privacy, or convenience reasons. It predicts that cash will account for 9% of all payments in 2028, down from 17% in 2020.

To ensure that cash remains accessible and viable for those who need it, UK Finance says that the government, regulators, banks, and other stakeholders need to work together to create a sustainable cash infrastructure and promote financial inclusion.

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