What is the cashless society and are we already living in it?
For many years I’ve been told that the cashless society is upon us, and that like Prince Charles we will no longer be carrying around notes and coins, jangling in our pockets or weighing down our handbags. When as a child I heard that royalty didn’t carry cash I was fascinated and didn’t ever imagine that it would apply to ordinary people.
But it seems I was wrong. For a long time, I only carried cash for carparking machines or for small purchases in shops, but once contactless appeared and carparks started using apps even that has mostly gone by the wayside. However, I still find myself checking my pockets before I leave the house to make sure I have just that little bit of cash for emergencies, old habits die hard.
For Freshbinz though, cashless has been a revelation, particularly in the current difficult times. We have always had concerns about our workers having to carry cash, leaving them open to robbery and possible assault. But when we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic there were also hygiene concerns.
It’s a gross fact that paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet! And coins can carry up to 2,400 different types of bacteria. We decided that we no longer wanted to subject our workers to these dangers, particularly when there was a possibility of them catching CV 19 through handling money.
So, we have put in place our new cash free service. Customers now get either a text or an email after their clean which contains a link to an invoice, an account balance, and the date of our next visit.
The invoice has a button the customer can click and pay using their card via Stripe. Some customers still use PayPal via our website because that’s what suits them, but most pay using a bank transfer which is more convenient for most concerned.
We have now also started using GoCardless to allow customers to set up a direct debit. Payment is only taken as the bin is marked as cleaned. Our workers carry a tablet and mark down that the bin has been cleaned, which then goes directly onto our system. Customers can also prepay for their cleans, for which they receive a small discount.
This is how the cashless society is working for us and I suspect many other businesses. Will we ever see a time when cash, dosh, filthy lucre becomes obsolete? From a certain amount of disbelief when I was young, I’ve now come around to thinking that the answer is yes. One day money as we know it will be a curiosity to be peered over in museums, not something that we would ever think of leaving the house with, and having read about the amount of bacteria that it carries, the possibility of robbery and various other downsides, I for one think that will probably be a good thing.