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Here’s Why Cash in a Digital Economy Is Still a Must for Travelers

Posted: 1st May 2018 by Finance Monthly
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You may think cash has come to an end, or maybe you’re on the other side of the fence, where cash is king. However, a balance is to be struck. Below WeSwap CEO Jared Jesner explains why travellers will also need cash, despite a predominantly digital economy.

Trailing closely behind Sweden and Canada, the United Kingdom is the world’s third most cashless society. According to UK Finance, cash will be used for a mere 21% of all payments by 2026. Increasingly, countries around the world are making definite moves towards a futuristic economy based on fully digital transactions for goods and services, with cash often portrayed as obsolete. In Sweden, 80% of all transactions are made by cards via the mobile payment app, Swish.

According to a report in Reuters citing the Bank for International Settlements, the study found that the use of cash is actually rising in both developed and emerging markets. “Some of the breathless commentary gives the impression that cash in the form of traditional notes and coins is going out of fashion fast,” said Hyun Song Shin, BIS economic adviser and head of research “despite all the technological improvements in payments in recent years, the use of good old-fashioned cash is still rising in most, though not all, advanced and emerging market economies.” Furthermore, the Bank for International Settlements found that in recent years, the amount of cash in circulation has increased to 9% of GDP in 2016 from 7% of GDP back in 2000. That said, the same study stated that debit and credit card payments represented 25% of GDP in 2016, up from 13% in 2000.

Cash’s resiliency comes at a time when the odds are seemingly stacked against its historically ubiquitous presence, with the critical mass of consumers owning more credit and debit cards today than ever before, using them for smaller transactions than in years past. Moreover, thanks to new technologies, consumers are able to use contactless payments via their mobile devices to pay for things in record numbers. These now societal norms have led to predictions that cash is dying as the world moves to digital payments. WeSwap asserts this prediction as flawed.

Jared Jesner, CEO of WeSwap, founded his company on the notion that cash remains indispensable across the majority of countries around the world: travelers will inevitably need to access hard currency beyond UK borders, and the method with which to do so, should be fair and transparent. As the key driver of a uniquely positioned digital banking revolution sweeping the nation, Jesner demystifies the notion that cash is moving closer towards extinction, instead recognizing its unwavering importance to society in 2018.

In just three years since launching its core product, WeSwap has rapidly risen to become the world’s largest peer-to-peer currency conversion platform, also enabling users to buy-back excess currency and receive cash delivered straight to their door. Its promise to streamline the travel budgeting process, empowers tourists and business travelers to make the most of their money abroad, with users loading funds onto the WeSwap card and swapping currency directly with each other at the interbank rate with no hidden fees. The service is unique and currently used by over 400,000 UK travelers, all of which appreciate and use the notes in their wallets, coins in their purses and contactless pings of their MasterCards.

CEO of WeSwap Jared Jesner states: “Our nation loves to travel and although we are moving closer towards becoming a cashless society within our own borders, when we go abroad this all changes.”

Jesner is optimistic about the enormous potential to change the landscape of payments, having founded WeSwap to make currency exchange cheap and fair for ordinary people: “I’m incredulous to the fact that we still 'buy' money when we should just be swapping with each other.”

With Futurologists long predicting cash will one day become obsolete, contextualised by the advent of blockchain technology, mobile money and similar innovations, a transition towards a more cashless society is inevitable, but not to the extent where notes are no-more. For all the convenience that digital payments offer, many remain reluctant to fully part with their notes and coins. WeSwap believes that an emotive and security-based connection – similar to our attachment with photographs, films, books and other things of tangible value – secure the role of hard-currency in our lives, inevitably.

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