Cash is Private

Jan 19, 2024

Cash is unintrusive. It keeps personal data private, asking nothing and recording nothing, enabling anyone to spend or save without the oversight or permission of third parties.

Using any cashless payment requires an immediate surrendering of personal data, first to sign up to the service and then for every transaction made using it. Even if this information is held securely—and we’ll cover cyberattacks momentarily—it still may not be comfortable to divulge, especially given the exact use of personal data is often anything but transparent.

The controversial cryptocurrency project Worldcoin was suspended by the Kenyan government mere weeks after its rollout due to ‘privacy objections over its scanning of users’ irises in exchange for a digital ID to create a new “identity and financial network.”’ A parliamentary panel later called for it to be entirely shut down, with Reuters noting the project ‘has also come under scrutiny in Britain, Germany and France.’

Data breaches are an increasingly hot topic as daily life becomes more digitised, and given the sensitive nature of the payment industry, it is an especially desirable target for bad actors. 2023 saw high profile data breaches such as Latitude Financial, an Australian provider of loans and credit cards that admitted to more than 14 million records being compromised, and UK fashion retailer JD Sports being hit by a cyberattack affecting 10 million customers and including billing addresses and payment card data. Fines for these breaches are reaching record levels, but settlements can’t restore lost privacy or personal data safety.

Beyond cybersecurity, many people appreciate the anonymity of cash, in contrast to cashless payments that are routinely tracked and monetised by the companies providing them. There are times when a record of paying for goods or services—such as a medical procedure restricted by a local government, or travel to a location where protests are taking place—could lead to serious consequences. The option to use cash can help keep people safe in such instances.

But privacy is just one of the joys of cash! Look for us on your social media channel of choice to see our full series and find out more about how cash supports a simple, friendly and joyful world.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2024