Cash was originally a physical substance like gold and silver. Today, although much of the money used by individuals in their everyday transactions is still in the form of notes and coins, its quantity is small in comparison with the intangible money that exists only as entries in bank records. Perhaps coins and banknotes will become as obsolete as shells. But not today.
Cash Versus Electronic Payments: A Foot in Both Camps
By: William Cain
VRL provides independent incisive analysis and insight for the global cards and payments community.
The cash versus electronic payments debate is a lively and persistent feature of the payments industry. On one side, broadly speaking, are the ATM and cash terminal providers, because ATM withdrawals are typically used as a proxy for cash. On the other side are a range of processors and card issuers and e-payments providers.
Depending on your position in the industry, the 'war on cash' is either being won or lost. But either way, prepaid has a special role in this debate, because it is another medium through which cash users can be converted into card and e-payments users.
Who is winning?
The winner of this ongoing debate is no clearer now than it was ten years ago. While the electronic payments industry continues to grow—for example MasterCard' global transaction volumes grew by 16.3 percent in 2011—cash usage is also continuing to grow. To give one comparison, ATM withdrawals in the UK (through the LINK network, which connects card issuers to the ATM network) grew around seven percent for the same period. And the UK represents one of the global markets that are the heaviest users of electronic payments.
As well as ATM service providers and manufacturers, a number of businesses operate in the cash niche. For example, businesses such as Paypoint and Ukash specifically target 'cash consumers' in the UK and beyond.
Ukash is a prepaid internet voucher system