I have to be honest with you; I don’t really use cash.
As a GenZ member with a debit card, I have always been dependent on contactless payment methods.
However, with GB News’ campaign to protect cash in full swing, I’ve decided to walk the talk by swapping Apple Pay for some good old-fashioned notes and coins.
It wasn’t something I was particularly keen on, with dozens of my favorite bars and popular leisure spots in London completely snubbing the money.
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Mastercard, American Express and Visa credit cards with British pound coins
However, before an early morning drive to Paddington, I left my south London flat in search of a free ATM.
It turned out to be harder to find than I previously thought, with three of my nearest ATMs charging extra transaction fees.
Luckily, the local post office would mark the start of my switch from contactless to cash.
But it was not an extremely successful start.
Two attempts to withdraw cash – starting with £100 and then £50 – resulted in messages explaining that there was no money left in the machine.
After a 200m walk my local Tesco came to my rescue as I withdrew cash to get this experience in full swing.
GB News’ Jack Walters withdraws cash from a Tesco ATM
The next big hurdle to overcome was paying for my travel.
London, unlike Paris and Dublin, is home to a far from cash-friendly transport network.
Tube stations include ticket machines for paper tickets and Oyster card top-ups.
However, it was not immediately clear whether top-ups or Oyster purchases were possible in cash.
After finding that the paper ticket charge for my 30 minute journey from my nearest station to Paddington was £13.60 – significantly more than the £5.60 I usually pay – I spoke to a Transport for London employee at the information desk to see if I could get a cheaper deal.
After a 15 minute conversation, which could soon be a thing of a bygone era if the Rail Delivery Group’s recent proposals are to be believed, I created an Oyster card – costing £7 – and put £30 extra in getting the ball rolling.
Undated photo issued by Barclaycard of a Visa card used to make a contactless payment
At the risk of sounding oxymoronic, there is something beautifully archaic about paying cash.
I have become so addicted and terribly jaded with contactless payments; beep first and check the rapidly decreasing balance later.
However, handing over notes and coins really makes you wonder if it’s worth it.
For starters, my cashless week coincided with an unofficial boycott of my favorite lunch spot, M&S.
Rather than spending around £3.50 a day, which is almost £20 a week, I brought a packed lunch.
It may seem tedious to many other Gen Zers, but bringing my own lunch has given me some much-needed respite from my bank balance and is probably healthier.
GB News’ Jack Walters with the Don’t Kill Cash pig
In fact, cash also allows me to conduct much-needed negotiations.
Channeling my Essex roots and looking like an 1980s double glazing salesman I somehow managed to make a pound off a pack of cigarettes.
And I even smoke less, going from about 15 a day to just 10.
Small gains, some of you might think, but for my part, I sincerely believe that the fact that I am much more aware of the cost of each of these tobacco-filled sticks means that I am less likely to turn to them at every possible opportunity.
It’s the same story with the drink. Going to the pub with £30 in your pocket is the equivalent of a financial straightjacket.
It limits my spending far more than endless contactless eavesdropping, but still allows me to enjoy all the capital has to offer without waking up with the dreadful combination of a severe headache and overwhelming anxiety so as I check how much money has been spent on endless pints of beer. blond beer.
An Oyster card is used at an underground station in London
However, I encountered a few problems at a popular London Bridge bar.
Another bettor said to me, “You broke the system with a ten, mate. »
I may not have broken the system but by paying cash I managed to create a ten minute delay with struggling bar staff frantically searching for the correct key to open the till.
And some pubs just don’t accept cash.
I traveled to Twickenham Stadium last Friday for the final Rugby World Cup warm-up match between South Africa and the All Blacks.
La Maison du Rugby does not offer visitors any means of payment other than contactless.
Fans outside the stadium before the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium
I pointed this out to another rugby fan who complained, “They really aren’t going to take my money?
My waistline really appreciated the Rugby Football Union’s decision as I casually walked past dozens of burger vans off the pitch to take a seat ahead of the Springboks’ emphatic victory.
However, England could have used my hard-earned money as Steve Borthwick’s side failed to sell any tickets to the top tier of HQ before last Saturday’s loss to Fiji.
Paying cash only also allowed my parents, who helped me through all the hardships for the first 23 years of my life, to be forced to play an important role in my love life.
I had an appointment scheduled and as I went to make my reservation at a popular Italian restaurant in Clapham I was asked to provide my card details in case, as I potentially feared, it did not turn up would not present.
My mom and dad, too eager to see their eldest son happy, laughed at my desperate appeal and proceeded with the booking.
Luckily the date was a success and the restaurant even accepted my payment in cash, along with an extra nice tip.
For most GenZers with a debit card, a one-week cash-only experience would show them that old habits die hard.
However, I have to say that I think it was a game changer.
It can be frustrating to hear older Britons, many of whom had significantly higher buying power for their homes, complaining about us lamenting how hard life is as we brandish our iPhones, sip our coffees at the milk and binge-watch Netflix, but some of the merits they breathe. the money is on point.
It’s a budgeting tool that, regardless of contactless alternatives out there, is unlike any other.
It also brings an appreciation of what you spend your money on and anyone who prefers the ‘pay first, ask questions later’ method of contactless needs to reconsider.
Despite clear reasons to protect cash, Rishi Sunak ignores our calls for the government to protect the often elderly and vulnerable Britons who remain dependent on notes and coins.
The Prime Minister argues instead that it is not appropriate to force companies to accept cold hard cash.
But what is the government doing to support the three million people who rely solely on old-fashioned methods?
Very little. Andrew Griffith, who is Sunak’s economic secretary to the Treasury, recently announced new measures aimed at providing “reasonable” access to cash.
The announcement means residents of rural settlements should be able to access cash deposit and withdrawal services from around three miles away.
I’m not sure about you, but walking three miles, or even worse relying on the less than reliable UK transport service, to withdraw cash without an additional levy just doesn’t seem reasonable enough.
Despite many of these obstacles, which have been aided and abetted by successive governments, there is no looking back for me now.
I do not promise to use cash exclusively in the future.
However, having personally seen the benefits of using banknotes and coins, I am more convinced than ever that cash should always remain king.
You can help GB News ensure government and business don’t kill cash by signing our petition.
Have you felt impacted by the cashless society? Email us and tell us your stories [email protected]
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