Banks and other consumer financial institutions are making a concentrated effort to “nudge” consumers away from cash and physical bank branches in favor of electronic transactions that they control; this in turn lets them say there is more consumer demand. While convenient, electronic systems often have single points of failure and offer less privacy and disenfranchise the significantly large and already marginalized population of people without bank accounts. Some research also suggests it may nudge people to spend more freely than they would with cash.
- More and more banks are closing local branches and relying heavily on a digital banking infrastructure.
- Financial institutions want to lead their customers toward a cashless society by making ATMs, physical branches, and cash less accessible.
- The fact of the matter is that digital banking systems can fail, while cash cannot crash.
“There is a feedback loop going on here. In closing down their branches, or withdrawing their cash machines, they make it harder for me to use those services. I am much more likely to “choose” a digital option if the banks deliberately make it harder for me to choose a non-digital option.”