Payments giant Visa is considering offering businesses in the United Kingdom incentives for not using cash.
While a UK offer has not yet been made, the company has initiated an incentive scheme for small businesses in the US. This is set to involve 50 small businesses going cashless and exploring the benefits of the transition for $10,000.
The scheme in the US is currently focussed on establishments such as restaurants, but there are plans to expand into other industries.
The use of cash is rooted deep in society, and the move away from it is not as easy sell. There have been mixed responses to the programme that may be launched in the UK by Visa.
Not only are businesses comfortable with using cash, it is also the case that businesses have to pay whenever a credit card or debit transaction is made, an average of 16p and 5.5p respectively.
According to the BBC, James Daley of consumer group Fairer Finance said: “It is easy to categorise it as a bribe, but ultimately they are incentivising companies to do away with cash, and that’s not the job of people like Visa… In 50 years it seems unlikely that most of us will be using cash. But banks need to let evolution follow its natural course, rather than accelerating it.”
On the other hand there has been a strong uptake in the use of contactless payment methods, with a colossal £9.27 billion being spent with these means between January and June 2016. This had grown considerably from the previous £7.75 billion spent in 2015
In addition to this, disruptive new ideas like Uber have furthered the concept of never handling cash at all, while the like of Barclays and Transport for London have also widened the availability of contactless payment.
There are also major movements going on in the payments space, most recently notable is the $10 billion acquisition of Worldpay by the US firm Vantiv. Rumours of giants in the space eyeing other key takeovers have also been in circulation.