Cash remains France’s most-used payment choice, with a new survey showing 97 percent of French people use it regularly, and a vast majority citing it as an essential part of social inclusion.
Conducted by Brink’s France, the survey also found that more people are turning to cash during the Coronavirus pandemic, with the percentage of respondents using cash to pay for daily goods rising by seven percent since May 2020, now standing at 74 percent. This preference is supported by French law, under which the acceptance of cash is compulsory, and refusal of coins and banknotes is punishable by a fine.
The survey indicated cash is viewed as essential for a variety of reasons. Over 80 percent of people cited gifts and tips, IT failures and ‘unforeseen circumstances’ as being chief among them. More than 70 percent noted it avoids social exclusion of the most disadvantaged, and considered the protection of their personal data offered by cash transactions a significant benefit.
On the possibility of cash ‘disappearing’ in a move to a cashless economy, a large majority said it would not be desirable, given it would present a major risk of social exclusion. 91 percent were concerned it would cause problems for the elderly. 89 percent pointed to difficulties for charitable associations and the homeless. 87 percent thought those without a sufficient internet connection would be disempowered.
Chief among respondents’ fears of a cashless society was the risk of cyber-attacks, with 87 percent saying they felt cashless transactions would leave them more vulnerable.
This concern is backed by a study from UFC-Que Choisir, a consumer rights group, that says contactless and remote payments present a higher risk of fraud than other payment methods, and suggest financial scams could increase by around 20 percent in 2020 alone.
The message from France is clear: cash reste roi (cash remains king)!