Cash is Secure

Dec 29, 2023

Cash is unhackable, making transactions safe and instantaneous. Using banknotes and coins, value can be exchanged securely, with each party able to see the money transfer in real-time. This offers unique benefits to individuals and businesses alike.

While theft will always be a problem—whether paying with physical or digital currency—it takes on a new dimension when it moves online, with entire bank accounts available for emptying rather than a single wallet or register. The delays inherent in cashless payments also open opportunities for abuse, with street vendors expressing a preference for cash payments due to the possibilities for faking digital payments (for example taking a screenshot of a genuine transaction, then showing it to a different vendor without having made a payment).

Keeping cash secure is as much a concern as other payment methods, but when banknotes are scooped out of a register, the amount a business is losing is likely to be considerably less than when it suffers digital theft. Juniper Research recently published a study forecasting losses from online payment fraud exceeding $362 billion globally over the next five years, attributing this to a growth in eCommerce in emerging markets and an associated acceleration of fraud.

Cash is also a high-tech product, with anti-counterfeiting measures that are monitored and refined year on year. The European Central Bank reported the number of counterfeits was at the second-lowest level ever recorded, and at its headquarters, devices such as 3D microscopes and ultra-sensitive scales are employed to study developments in counterfeiting and feed information into databases that help police track criminal groups, and designers develop new security measures.

The quality of counterfeits is generally quite low. Anyone who has learned to recognise the security features of euro banknotes is likely able to detect them without any problem.
"Eric Languillat, Counterfeit Expert, Counterfeit Analysis Centre, European Central Bank

Similar processes are in place worldwide to ensure cash remains on the cutting edge of secure technology. The Central Bank of Barbados offers an example of how security and accessibility can also go hand in hand, with its banknotes including tactile marks that challenge counterfeiters whilst also helping people with visual impairments.

Having cash to hand can also help speed up queues, especially in areas where network coverage is limited and cashless transactions require extra processing time.

Sign at Hiroshima Castle, Japan, requesting customers pay with cash at busy times

But security 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 free, private and joyful world!

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024