Cash is rearmed so as not to disappear in a world that is moving towards electronic money

In a world in which payments with electronic money are increasingly used, especially after the pandemic, as seen from the financial sector, cash is reluctant to disappear.

Although it is true that its survival is not threatened in Spain, at least for the moment, in this context the platform was born Denaria with the intention of valuing the use of cash and difundir its benefits to society.

The initiative aims to “draw attention to the convenience that cash continues to be an important element in commercial relations”, as it explains to EL ESPAÑOL-Invertia Javier Ruperez, president of the Denaria platform, which rules out, in any case, that it is intended to go “against electronic or digital money.”

Freedom, control and inclusion

For the promoters of this platform, which uses the motto Pay in cash, this shop will thank you, the money in cash “It guarantees user freedom, allows greater control over spending -because there is a clearer notion of what to do with money- and makes life easier for very important sectors of the citizenry.” More specifically, they defend that it favors the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities.

And they go one step further. The creators of Denaria, as Rupérez explains to this newspaper, have the mission of promote a legal provision to impose the obligation to accept cash payments at the merchant, for which they intend to meet formally soon with the parliamentary groups.

A Mastercard card., Unsplash.

The platform defends, based on a survey conducted by GAD3 to 1,001 representative citizens of the population of this country, that 90% of Spaniards defend the permanence of cash as a means of payment and that 70% of the population considers that the cash it is necessary in society.

This survey was released during the presentation of the platform, in which the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (Cermi) and the Large National Association of Distribution Companies (Anged).

Cash use on the decline

The birth of this platform comes at a time when more and more digital payment methods are emerging and it is more common to pay for purchases with your mobile. Cash has always been the method of choice, although the pandemic has changed that dynamic.

In 2020, 35.9% of citizens stated that they used cash as the most common means of payment, while 54.1% preferred the debit card, according to the National survey on the use of cash of the Bank of Spain. This same reflected a year before that 53% preferred cash and 41% the card, so the change in just twelve months has been considerable.

In addition to the sanitary restrictions and the inability to leave home, especially in the first months of the pandemic, there has been a tendency to use less cash so as not to touch bills and coins, an attitude that, despite having no scientific basis , was followed by many citizens.

This reduced use, a trend that experts believe is here to stay, is coupled with the reduction in the number of cashiers and, above all, its use. According to the latest data available from the Bank of Spain, in 2020 there were 31% fewer withdrawals and the total amount withdrawn fell by 18%.

ATM on the facade of a Post Office

ATM on the facade of a Post Office

At the moment, in 2021, 308,702 cash withdrawals have been carried out and some 52,000 million euros have been withdrawn from the ATMs, so that, if this rhythm continues, it does not seem that it will return to the levels of 2019. With more up-to-date data, in the third quarter the cash withdrawals made with credit cards CaixaBank they were already 11% lower than in 2019.

For its part, the use of point of sale terminals (POS) does not stop growing. From the first to the second quarter, according to the Bank of Spain, operations grew by 60% and, if the rhythm experienced in the first half of the year continues, they will end up breaking new records at the end of the year.

Boost of the banking sector

Behind this advance in electronic money are also the increasingly innovative means of payment platforms, which are making it easier for citizens to have money with only one smartphone. Among them, stands out Bizum, which is, precisely, an initiative that emerged from the more traditional banking.

The company plans to close this year with almost 20 million private customers (equivalent to around 42% of the Spanish population) and the elderly increasingly use this means of payment. According to the company’s data, its users over 55 years old are practically the same number as those between 18 and 24 years old, a change that has occurred in the heat of the pandemic, its restrictions and the refusal to touch the coins and banknotes.

In addition to Bizum, a facility already offered by thirty banks, entities offer multiple digital payment methods, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay

And is that “cash is very expensive to manage” for banks, as recognized a few days ago by a source from the financial sector. Not surprisingly, it requires infrastructure to facilitate it to customers – tellers-, as well as to store and transport it. Payment by card, on the other hand, generates commissions that are very appreciated in times of low interest rates.

However, banks and more and more sectors outside the financial sector (Lotteries, Post Offices, shops …) are making an effort to bring cash to every corner of the country. It is a goal for those who are still reluctant to use these new technologies or simply do not want to give up using cash for security or privacy reasons.

That is why, at least for the moment, the possibility of citizens to choose the payment method remains intact.

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