In an era of contactless card and mobile phone Payments, and the refusal of businesses to accept cash in the guise of it spreading the supposed novel coronavirus, The Daily Expose explores the huge dangers associated with a cashless society.
Tina had taken the bus from her home in Kent to her local supermarket. She had queued up outside, which is tough when you are on crutches – standing up for any period of time is fatiguing. When she got into the supermarket, she hustled around as quickly as she could and was relieved to find they had almost everything she needed. At the till, the checkout assistant scanned Tina’s items. She got out her cash. The checkout operator waved it away. “You can’t pay cash in here,” she told Tina. “It’s against the law.”
Tina knew that could not be true. “I said: ‘It’s not the law,’” Tina remembers. “‘You can only refuse a note if it’s a forgery. It’s the Queen’s legal tender!’” But the checkout operator insisted – it was a card payment or nothing. Tina told her that she could not pay by card because she did not have enough money in her account to cover the shopping. The checkout operator would not budge. “I got the bus home in tears.”
Tina is one of the many people who have struggled to purchase necessities during the government imposed restrictions in relation to the alleged pandemic, as retailers increasingly refuse to take cash. A recent study of more than 2,000 people by the consumer group Which? found that one in 10 people were refused by shops when trying to purchase essential items with cash during the pandemic. Which? has long been calling on the government to protect cash as a payment option, with some success: the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, pledged to protect access to cash in his 11 March budget.
But that was before the government turned into an authoritarian dictatorship, and retailers moved to ban cash transactions because of concerns that coins and notes may spread the alleged Covid-19. (Even the corrupt World Health Organization never instructed consumers to avoid cash during the pandemic.) Within days of shops starting to close, UK cash usage halved. Signs reading “contactless payment only” became common at tills and petrol stations. “What covid (really government imposed restrictions and fear propaganda) did was push anyone who could go digital to go digital,” says Natalie Ceeney of the Access to Cash Review, an independent body assessing the future of Britain’s cash needs. The UK has been moving towards a cashless economy for some time, with ATM usage declining at about 6% to 10% a year. But Covid-19 (fear propaganda) supercharged this transition. “During lockdown, cash withdrawals from ATMs were down about 60%,” she says. “That’s a huge drop.”
If you have ever seen a queue outside banks or post offices to pay bills in cash, you may have seen people like Tina. As is the case for many people on benefits, low incomes or without access to online banking, Tina usually withdraws her personal independence payment and her employment and support allowance in cash. She then tops up her gas and electric at the bank, where she also pays her council tax, and puts the rest aside for food.
Those of us who use contactless payment technology routinely scarcely noticed the fear propaganda-induced switch to a virtually cashless economy, apart from the limit being increased to £45. But for the approximately 1.2 million people living in the UK who don’t have a bank account – meaning they don’t have access to any bank account – buying essentials became a herculean undertaking.
Loss Of Anonymity
Even if you aren’t planning to embezzle your employer or commit tax fraud, there are reasons why you might want to keep your financial transactions private.
“Although the potential law enforcement benefits of a cashless environment are real, it is also important to understand how the constant tracking of transactions gives financial institutions and banks surveillance capabilities that have far-reaching consequences,” said Ray Walsh, a data privacy expert at ProPrivacy.
He explained that the flow and liquidity of capital, as well as the purchase decisions that people make, are information that institutions can use to judge individuals. “Ultimately, this gives institutions massively invasive powers that can lead to prejudice and discrimination,” he said.
There are deeper consequences to this type of financial surveillance, too. In countries like China, Walsh said, the potential for financial surveillance to be used to censor and restrict the freedoms of people who express dissenting opinions against the state raises very serious concerns. “This serves as a warning for other countries, including the West, where it is possible that similar actions could be taken to crack down on any transactions considered discordant to the authority of the state.”