Visa failure shows the dangers of ditching cash | Letters
Doug Clark says two credit card providers hold the lion’s share of the market, giving them a worrying degree of control over our means of payment, and Mike Peart says he shouldn’t be discriminated against financially for not having a smartphone
On Friday millions of people across Britain and Europe were unable to pay for goods and services after a crash in Visa’s payment system (Chaos as Visa card network crashes in UK and Europe, 2 June). Countries worldwide are dispensing with cash. This situation stems from new technology such as phone payment apps and contactless systems. While few doubt its convenience, what are the downsides to a cashless society? Since 2008, banks are no longer held high in public esteem, and hacking scandals show that technology firms care little for our privacy.
Currently, two credit card providers hold the lion’s share of the market, giving them a worrying degree of control over our means of payment. It is not well known that credit card companies have the legal right to refuse anyone a card or to revoke an existing card – without giving reasons. Such power needs curtailing by encouraging more providers and other payment avenues. E-payment is data-rich and hence ripe for data-mining – again, the public needs protection. E-payment systems have become indispensable to everyday life, but what happens to some innocent person who becomes cut off from the cashless payment system? Effectively, they become divorced from society. Let last Friday’s chaos serve as a warning. Legislation is required urgently.
Source: Guardian Transport