Managing finances in a ‘contactless’ society
The increased reluctance to handle cash in the current pandemic has sped up the switch to a more ‘contactless’ society but this does risk leaving older and more vulnerable people behind.
In March 2019 the Access to Cash Review confirmed how quickly things are changing when it comes to cash: 10 years ago, 6 out of every 10 transactions were cash. Now it’s 3 in 10. And in 15 years’ time, it is predicted that it could be as low as 1 in 10.
We increasingly use digital finance on a daily basis, ie, telephone or online banking or contactless payments in shops.
The Access to Cash Review, however, highlighted that 17% of the UK population (over 8 million adults) would struggle to cope in a cashless society for reasons such as risks of isolation, exploitation, debt and rising costs.
The groups of society which have been identified as being disadvantaged by a cashless society include:
- Those with physical and mental issues;
- Those with a risk of overspending and going into debt;
- Those who rely on others to buy things for them;
- Those in rural communities with little or poor broadband connections;
- Those who cannot provide proof of their identity to a bank or financial services provider.
We know that people living with Alzheimer’s often find change extremely scary. They often choose to use cash because they are worried about holding up a queue if they cannot remember their PIN.
In a move towards a potentially cashless society, there can be substantial disadvantages for individuals and groups. This means it is more important than ever for people to have help with their financial wellbeing. But this comes with its own complications.
One of the best ways to navigate these complications in a safe and transparent way is through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA allows for decisions to be made regarding finances and/or health decisions on someone’s behalf during their lifetime.
Ann-Marie Matthews is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich Solicitors.