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Experts warn rise of plastic could lead to debt problems

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Experts warn rise of plastic could lead to debt problems

Be it obesity, alcoholism or debt, we are constantly bombarded with warnings of the future ramifications of out instant gratification culture.

Name a vice, and chances are that someone, somewhere, is figuring out a way to bring it to you faster and in vaster quantities than ever, usually wrapped up in marketing spiel endorsing increased convenience and speed.
The tendency to spend more when armed with plastic over a finite amount of cash in hand is well documented. A report by Dunn and Bradstreet showed that when customers used a credit card over cash, they spent approximately 18% more for each transaction.
Hardly surprising then, that along with the raft of 99p extras, fast food chains have been so quick to embrace chip and pin in recent years, uniting the rush of buy now, pay later spending and mindless eating in one master stroke.
And the helpful people providing the funds just keep coming up with easier ways to spend cognition free. The latest in such developments is the advent of “contactless payment.” These allow customers to make payments of up to £15 without requiring a pin number.
According to research by the Payments Council, increasing numbers of people are choosing to pay with cards over cash. At the rate we’re going, by 2015, cash will be used in fewer than half of all transactions.
The research reveals that over the past decade, use of cash has fallen from 73% to 59%, with debit card as the payment method of choice. And if the commercial banks have their way, use of money in transactions looks set to fall even further.
This can in part be attributed to the decline of the traditional wage packet at the end of the week, as well as the overall rise in number of those with bank accounts under initiatives by the government.
Whilst “cash is no longer king,” the likely future successor will most likely be “contactless payment” over cards.
This could mean that by 2025, consumers will be making a bulk of their transactions via the means of media such as mobile phones and technology such as iPhones.
Although some are excited about this small change free lifestyle, many campaigners are alarmed at the thought of a cashless future.
Ron Delnevo, the managing director of cash dispensing company Bank Machine, argues that the push for cards is against the interest of the general public.
He added that whilst cards can be convenient, “sensible people use cash…with plastic you can easily lose track of what you are spending and get into debt.”
Although this seems like common sense, in our ever more hectic lives, sometimes counting out change and locating ATMs just seems like one extra hassle – which is probably just what creditors are counting on.
A penny for thought next time you find yourself at the bar whipping out the plastic for that round a tenner just won’t cover.

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