Cashless isn't progress: We need to protect payment choice as cash never goes offline, says ​Ron Delnevo

Cashless isn't progress: We need to protect payment choice as cash never goes offline, says ​Ron Delnevo

Pub landlord speaks to GB News about why he only accepts cash

Ron Delnevo

By Ron Delnevo

Published: 25/02/2024

- 11:01

Updated: 25/02/2024

- 13:55

Ron Delnevo, Chair of the Payment Choice Alliance, explains why he thinks going cashless doesn't mean "progress" in an exclusive opinion piece for GB News members

When living our daily lives, doing those things we all do, most of us probably don’t think much about choice in general, let alone Payment Choice in particular.

As we busy ourselves through each day, mentally ticking off our checklist of “must do” chores one by one, it's all too easy to go into autopilot.

Not thinking, and going with the flow, can be very easy.

Until it is not.

In my own last few days, my “must-do” lists have included, for example, an appointment to keep me on my toes – literally; a visit to my chiropodist.

Loose change in person's hands and Ron Delnevo

Ron Delnevo is the Chair of the Payment Choice Alliance


As the nice lady was finishing scoring ten out of ten with my tootsies, she remarked: “I hope that card machine is working now”.

It wasn’t.

Not easily beaten, my “sole” mate suggested we go to the front of the building. "It sometimes works better there," she said.

It didn’t.

“What to do,” asked the lady, with her next customers' feet already in reception.

Fear not, I was able to tell her. £60 in cash solved the problem and brought a smile to three faces; hers, mine – and the gentlemen-in-waiting.

My next “must do” appointment was just a couple of days ago, at my dentist.

Like many people, I visit dentists somewhat reluctantly. Somehow, just before such a visit is planned, I recall vividly the dental work Dustin Hoffman endured long ago in the movie Marathon Man!

However, my dentist Rachel is definitely no tooth torturer.

My visit progressed painlessly, with much laughter (when my mouth wasn’t open for other reasons) – until the time came to pay the bill.

This card machine only had one message to offer: “Insert or Swipe Card”, so I duly offered up every card on my person, only to find that no bit of plastic brought about a change to that on-screen instruction.

“What to do?” asked the lady, clearly reluctant to see a cavity appear in my dentist’s daily takings.

Fear not, I was able to tell her. £80 in cash solved the problem and brought a smile to both our faces, though – being Scottish – my smile faded slightly when told that my £2 change would need to be credited to my account since she had no coins to give me.

Through gritted – though gleaming - teeth, I accepted this situation. You should never fall out with your dentist, as Dustin Hoffman would no doubt confirm….

My most recent “Must do” was a journey from Leatherhead to London, courtesy of Southern Rail.

That was just yesterday and I was really looking forward to visiting the now Big Smoke(less) again.

Alas, the only two ticket machines at the Station had a curious screen message to pass on to any potential users, namely “Welcome (Offline)”.

For the uninitiated, such a message means that a plastic card is about as useful as a thimble of water in an Australian Bush Fire…

Fortunately, after my experiences with the Chiropodist and Dentist, no one needed to tell me what to do next.

Cash is NEVER “Offline”. £30 in cash – a payment method that has worked continuously for the last 2500 years - was transferred from my wallet to the ticket machine cash acceptor.

Hey presto, enough technology worked to print my ticket and guarantee my visit to London didn’t need to be postponed.

So that’s the last six days in the life of Ron Delnevo.

Chiropody, Dentistry and Rail Travel have all seen tremendous technological progress over the years – but in the last week, none of them would have worked smoothly for me without cash.

Or, put another way, without Payment Choice.

Like most people, I call something “progress” if it makes my life easier and/or better, even in a small way.

By that measure, “cashless” will NEVER be called “progress”.

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