I was lucky enough to go to the Olympic Park recently and it was magnificent. The atmosphere was terrific and the park itself was impressive in every respect from the organisation to the architecture.
The role of the official sponsors for the games has been well documented with the draconian marketing rules and regulations and walking through the park their presence is visible.
VISA is one of the most dominant sponsors in the park and near enough every food, drink or retail outlet has signs plastered all over the place saying something along the lines of: “We are proud to accept VISA.”
Away from the Olympics most places are now too as we move more towards a cash-free society. I take it as given that any bar or pub in London will accept card and have noticed more taxis do too and as a result I rarely carry good old fashioned cash on a night out. I tend to prefer it this way, as a consumer when I carry cash I find it easier to spend especially when I do the dreaded thing of ‘breaking a note’ and often find that whatever cash I take out for something like an evening out gets spent. Plus carrying little cash is more secure as it removes the risk of losing money should you misplace your wallet or get it nicked. So are moves towards a cash-free society a good thing?
Just using a card has its drawbacks. When purchasing something expensive I find the prospect less daunting when using a card whereas when I have cash and can see physically how much money is involved in the transaction, I will take longer to consider. Equally the touch and go systems in many places now make a transaction seem even less significant and make it more difficult to keep track on spending.
I also find that when I don’t have cash I tend to buy things I don’t often always want. That may sound stupid but frequently I will walk out of my way to somewhere that accepts cash rather than pop in somewhere I know and like that takes card. The people that suffer from this approach are independent traders. Market food for instance is often cheaper and fresher than that in the supermarkets but often people will go somewhere else like a supermarket as they accept card.
As more and more places “proudly accept VISA” the need for carrying cash will diminish and there will of course be winners and losers both on the side of consumers and retailers. For the retailers the winners will be the big boys, unless the technology becomes more readily available for the independent traders. For consumers I guess it will be entirely down to personal preference and how well you can manage your money with cash or with card as everyone has different habits. What do you prefer? Cash or card? What is the best way to manage your money?
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