They have been killing cash for years, setting dates for its end. On the day on which the last note leaves the mint factories. But it’s still there, even reinforced. The recent falls of the card and transfer payment system, such as Bizum, blocked businesses, purchases in the supermarket, payments in restaurants… Those who had money in their wallets did not flinch. Defenders of cash as the main form of payment take the opportunity to boast: “It always works.”
It is the favorite among older people and stands out in smaller municipalities
This week’s payment problems leave cash strengthened. Between cards and fallen bizums, it became the only outlet to complete purchases, with lines at the ATMs. “Even among young people there is an awareness that cash is the means that always works and will get us out of trouble in circumstances like those we have experienced,” explains Mónica Correia, CEO of Nickel in Spain. As the need remains, the disappearance of offices and ATMs has encouraged new businesses. An example is Nickel itself, which converts tobacconists or lotteries into cash access points. It already has 1,800. “Those who cannot travel or have fewer offices nearby are pushed to opt for digital channels. It is normal for there to be a gap (between ages and digital) if you are in the habit of managing your budget with cash. We have to bring it closer to the people again,” says Correia. After decades and a lifetime of doing this, for older people the jump to the virtual world is not so attractive.
Spaniards usually carry an average of 43.30 euros in banknotes in their wallets and another 6.20 in coins, according to data from the Bank of Spain
When comparing alternatives, one of the great advantages of cash is that it helps better control spending: when you pay you see the money changing hands directly, not as a simple line on the card statement. The greater privacy it offers is another plus. Also, there is no reluctance to accept it, as can happen with minor card payments, and it helps you out of trouble when you use a virtual wallet and the phone runs out of battery or is offline. Or when the system directly falls… It would be the safe bet to move. “I wouldn’t recommend a fixed amount, although it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you. There are no dogmas, but at least five euros in case something happens. At maximum, 50 euros is enough, in normal situations you can get by with that,” says Rupérez. It is also worth having something at home always on hand for eventualities or unforeseen events, under the mattress.
On the horizon appears the arrival of the digital euro, still in development. In the absence of specific dates for its deployment and scope, “in a field of uncertainty, cash continues to play an important role,” says Rupérez. “I don’t think it will ever die, it always works,” they insist from Nickel.
Banknotes against cards
Payment with cash in stores is protected by law, as stated in the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users. If a store refuses, it faces penalties. This is a big difference from card payment, for which a minimum amount can be imposed for use, as long as the customer is clearly informed.
SUBSCRIBE HERE TO THE ‘POCKET’ NEWSLETTER, WITH ALL THE TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR MONEY