EY's findings come in various forms: a press release about a poll conducted at the Sibos 2019 conference in London where 129 finance experts answered questions on the future of cash; a presentation of those findings on the #payments 2019 newsletter; and EY sponsored Economist Intelligence Unit report titled, "The End of Cash: Why and when to flick the switch" and infographic. All these reports can be downloaded here.
The overall research is driven by a key question within the cash debate:
"Are we ready for our identity to be linked to every transaction we make?"
With all the evidence supporting the case that cash holds an irreplaceable role in society and culture, the study concludes that more investment is necessary to ensure that the cashless world is as secure, resilient and inclusive as the cash world. Perhaps, simply keeping cash is the answer.
"Digital payments offer new opportunities to bring in much of the world’s “unbanked” but, with cash still king in many markets, the risk of financial exclusion remains high if physical currency disappears altogether."
Key findings include
- Of the 129 respondents, 36% percent cited social exclusion as the most negative impact of a cashless society.
- Of this figure, 100% of respondents based in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Australasia cited this as the most negative by-product,
- Other areas of concern included:
- Increased potential for cyber risk (20%)
- Potential for mass outages (20%)
- Greater government control (14%)
- Costs faced by the business sector (8%)
"The end of cash may not be as close or as utopian as some believe. The transition away from notes and coins to an increasingly online financial system will bring economic benefits to banks and governments, but the risks of moving too fast and too radically are significant. Digital financial systems must be secure and reliable, and use innovation to both inspire trust and boost inclusion."