The Anonymous Widower

I’ve Gone Cashless

I have now setup my bank account, so that I can make small payments using from my phone, using the contactless facility.

These are a few short observations.

  • The thirty pound limit may be a little too low.
  • You can’t be cashless on the Blackpool tramway. I was allowed to go free!
  • Some small shops still won’t accept them or apply a minimum spend. Obviously, they don’t want my business and didn’t get it.
  • I never have any change for beggars. I follow TfL’s advice and give to the Whitechapel Mission, who look after the genuine homeless.
  • Some estabishments have gone cashless only!

The only time I use cash, is for tips in restaurants and paying black cabs.

February 8, 2020 - Posted by | Finance, World | , ,


  1. Depending on the bank, phone app, and retailer, you may be able to do contactless for more that £30 on your phone (called high value NFC or high value contactless–Apple pay definitely supports this, I think Samsung and Google may also support this).

    Barclay’s PingIt–successor to bPay–doesn’t allow high value contactless I think, although they will sell you contactless “tokens” and jewellery to make contactless payment easier in some situations, including transit, but needs replacing every 3 years.

    Tesco has their own contactless scheme/app (for use in Tesco only–Pay+) but I don’t recall if it allows more than £30.

    You can also get contactless finger rings, but in effect you have to pay circa £30 per year to have one (£100+ up front for a device which lasts 3 years due to the “expiry date” of the “card” built into the device) and they only allow up to £30.

    As a regular user of Zone 1-2 transport in London (but not quite enough to make annual season worthwhile) I recently weighed up having a dedicated payment setup for transit, considering Monzo, a “payment token” (e.g. smallest pingIt device but not a watch strap–wrong hand for tube gates), a ring but went for the Citymapper card as this works out cheaper because of the weekly discount which just breaks even for me (although you have to pay £1 per week to “suspend” the weekly ticket for a week).

    The reason why smaller retailers apply a minimum or don’t accept at all is due to the fees they need to pay for credit/debit cards (varies by card-scheme & debit or credit, mode e.g. contactless, EMV C+P, foreign magstripe or foreign EMV). This is a few % of the overall transaction value (Amex significantly more) and can take some time to be into the retailer’s account.

    Comment by MilesT | February 8, 2020 | Reply

  2. The Swedes are the most cashless society, to the point where there is concern over the loss of connectivity leading to people being unable to purchase basic items such as food. The government is now asking people to keep a significant sum of money in cash at home to allow them to pay by cash during a period of problems.
    I use a debit card for almost all payments (contactless if possible) and so carry little cash. I find that I run out of coins, as when I need to use them, they are not replaced.

    Comment by John | February 8, 2020 | Reply

    • A friend is Swedish and has said they’re very cashless.

      Comment by AnonW | February 8, 2020 | Reply

  3. I think the limit should be the cardholder’s discretion. I would be happy with say £50. I have never had a card compromised and only ever lost one (to a cash machine in France when I didn’t understand the error message). Younger or much older people might prefer a lower limit or a limit ont he number of transactions per day.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | February 8, 2020 | Reply

    • With on line banking you could probably have a much more sophisticated approach. A limit per transaction, a limit per day and perhaps a list of banned places, where the card can’t be used without chip and pin.

      Comment by AnonW | February 8, 2020 | Reply

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