World of Coins

Collecting coins => Coin collecting => Topic started by: Figleaf on December 06, 2021, 12:59:58 PM

Title: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Figleaf on December 06, 2021, 12:59:58 PM
For a foretaste of a cashless society, try parking your car in another country. Parking garages tend to accept credit cards that charge a fee for each transaction outside its currency area, but parking meters get more and more complicated to handle, requiring a local teenager to programme and accept less and less means of payment. There are cases where it is impossible for tourists to park legally unless they open a local bank account first (presumably while the car is parked illegally), which banks are quite reluctant to do.

Last spring, I was invited to attend a conference in Sweden. I declined in the end because I couldn't be bothered dealing with their cashless society. The last time I was in Stockholm, I was the last passenger on board the plane, just because I couldn't pay cash for public transport to the airport.

Peter
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: chrisild on December 06, 2021, 01:27:45 PM
As for parking fees, here in Germany I use (among other means of payment) a service called PayByPhone for that purpose. Fine. In October I parked in Colmar, FR for example. The machine had a nice big PayByPhone sticker; same service, same logo, but was I allowed to use that there? Uh, not with my German app. :-\  So one time I used cash, one time a credit card. Fortunately there are no extra fees involved as long as I use my cards in the euro area, but yes, elsewhere that is different.

Admittedly I am getting spoiled. I use public transport from time to time, and around here there has always been the problem that you need to know, when buying a ticket, what fare zone your destination is in. Well, now I use an app that allows me to get on board a bus/subway/etc. anywhere in the state (NW, pop. 18 million), tap "check in", and when I get off, I tap "check out". Try that with cash ...

Yes, I understand that cash which you insert into a machine can be attractive for thieves. The "funny" thing is, for anything beyond regional use we do not really have viable alternatives – it's coins (or maybe paper money) or US based card services. So yes, our data will be processed and stored in third countries. Around here, a "digital euro" may one day work. Theoretically we could also have "anonymous cards" even today, but apparently some fear criminal abuse. Nah, cash will stay around more some more time. It will just become less and less common.

Christian
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: FosseWay on December 06, 2021, 02:09:12 PM
At least within the confines of the EU, the problem Peter raises is easily overcome. The EU overcame it with roaming charges for phones and could, if it wanted to, overcome it for credit and debit card transactions. Personally I think there should be one standard exchange rate for each currency per day, set centrally and against which all card transactions are calculated. There should then be no fees charged. If I pay 1 euro parking and the rate is 1 EUR = 10 SEK then 10 SEK is what appears on my statement.

This doesn't, of course, deal with a lot of very valid issues with the cashless society (such as government/bank monitoring, resilience if there is a power cut or computer problem, the effect on vulnerable groups, or the relative speed of some transactions using cash vs. an app). But it does deal with one of the commonest complaints of tourists and business travellers.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Elak on December 09, 2021, 08:23:41 PM
I use the Oyster card on the London Tube - we have an ash tray with half a dozen of them in it. the cards are more than a decade old, but work fine. I can top them up in Tube stations using cash.

I have not yet come across areas where I could not park the car in Ireland or the UK using coins, except when the car park (at some stations for example) required advance booking, and had no option for payment on-site.

Since covid started, I have come across car parks in England where cash is no longer accepted by the machines 'to prevent possible disease spread'.

I have no plans to go to Sweden, fortunately. It was nice in the 1990s, we'd pop over on the duty free run from Helsinki to stock up and spend a day in Stockholm, visit the local numismatic emporium. All with cash back then.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Figleaf on December 09, 2021, 11:06:21 PM
I came to London regularly until 2019. Since most of my business was in the Docklands, I'd buy an Oyster card upon arrival in the Canning Town station, the closest station that had machines for buying and returning cards to my hotel a few stations down the DLR line. It was always impossible to park legally there, so my wife stayed in our car. She once had to explain all that to a policeman, who understood. A parking attendant might have been less understanding.

I could top up the card in Beckton, where I stayed, at least if the machine worked. Once I travelled to Canning Town the night before leaving to return the Oyster card. A helpful DLR lady gave me her phone number in case I would be checked on the way back and told me not to try this procedure again.

On departure, I had to do the routine in reverse order, walking out with the balance on the card plus its cost, all paid in coins. Fun but heavy and inconvenient, especially when you will be in France that same day. Still, it was worth it, compared to using a credit card and incurring a charge higher than the ticket price on every trip.

Peter
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: FosseWay on December 10, 2021, 07:55:37 AM
Not sure why you returned the Oyster card each time?

We have a couple of Oyster cards that we use when we go to London, although in practice the last few times I've just used my (British) contactless debit card. But if I didn't have a UK bank account, I'd just use the Oyster card, having checked it had funds on it.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Figleaf on December 10, 2021, 11:06:04 AM
Quote from: FosseWay on December 10, 2021, 07:55:37 AM
Not sure why you returned the Oyster card each time?

I'd go there regularly, but not that often and I'd be in other European cities from time to time. I'd end up with a huge collection of cards plus what's on them (I like to put a large amount in, so as having one worry less when going to business appointments) plus the risk they'll change the system or the cards to escape their contingent liabilities plus the risk I can't find the correct bleeping card in my collection. They are like leftover coins, but irritatingly more valuable.

Anyway, we can still end up with the plastic when we forget them when leaving. I am now the proud owner of a Madrid tarjeta transporte público that I may never again be able to use.

Peter
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: chrisild on December 10, 2021, 11:15:46 AM
Don't have a card for public transport in London, but I do have two for Los Angeles (TAP cards). One is "empty", I just kept it because of the design. The other one is still charged, except that I have not had the opportunity to go to the US since Covid came along. Hope it will still work when I go there the next time ...

Around here in the euro area, I am not so worried about cash becoming obsolete soon. :)  The European Central Bank has just started a new theme and design (https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2021/html/ecb.pr211206~a9e0ba2198.en.html) selection procedure, "a process that is expected to lead to a final decision in 2024."

Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Elak on December 13, 2021, 11:14:26 PM
I like transport cards! Though the Oyster card is a dead boring design. I go to London often, hence our Oyster cache!

I used to take trains in Paris in the 1990s, from Sèvres to Montparnasse, or the Métro to La Muette. My first encounter with touch screen train ticket machines was there. RATP was well ahead of the curve with its shiny new machines, all coin operated - I don't remember if they also took credit cards, probably yes.

The touch screens kind of worked - dreadful unprintable things when you were in a hurry - had to slide your finger across the screen to select your ticket when pointing at it didn't work properly - skill and judgement involved there, especially with the queue building up behind you.

RATP living up to its acronym, Rester au tout pied.

The announcement of the new design of Euro notes is indeed encouraging.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: FosseWay on December 14, 2021, 09:40:17 AM
Quote from: Elak on December 13, 2021, 11:14:26 PM
The touch screens kind of worked - dreadful unprintable things when you were in a hurry - had to slide your finger across the screen to select your ticket when pointing at it didn't work properly - skill and judgement involved there, especially with the queue building up behind you.

Some touchscreens are freakin awful. The ones at Copenhagen airport, for a start. There are different ones depending on where you're going (if you're using the Swedish rail system further than Malmö you have to use different ones from if you're going to Malmö or Copenhagen, and I am always going further into Sweden than that), and at least the ones for Sweden are so unresponsive to touch as to be virtually unusable. The icon/text on screen doesn't line up with the part of the screen you need to activate it, they will randomly stop working halfway through a transaction, and so on. I've missed a train more than once because of these wretched things.

Getting customers to do things like operate touchscreens or scan their own shopping in the supermarket is 100% purely for the benefit of the service provider. It doesn't help the individual and it doesn't help society. Even if the machinery works exactly as expected/intended, someone whose job it is to sell tickets or scan groceries will operate it much more efficiently than a random punter. The clerk will know instinctively where all the buttons are and how you navigate to less often used options. They know where the bar codes are on goods where the rest of us inevitably look on seven sides of a cube before finding the code on the eighth. They know which random submenu a given loose vegetable is hiding in.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Elak on December 16, 2021, 02:38:16 AM
I hear your pain Fossie - I never use the automat in supermarkets! Try finding a cinnamon bun without raisins on it! Filed under Bread, which is a subcategory of Baking, which is a sub category of Fresh Home Produce, which is a subcategory of 'Waitrose Daily Stuff' . . . etc.
And then there is the 'Unexpected Item in Bagging Area' alert.

I have played the 'dumb tourist who can't speak any known language' card when it comes to paying by means other than cash in France or Finland (nasty extra charges on a card). I speak to them in Irish.
I have even used this in England on one occasion, and in Dublin when a (contractor) parking attendant would not allow me to park my car at a coin show venue.
Good fun.
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: FosseWay on December 16, 2021, 07:34:15 AM
Quote from: Elak on December 16, 2021, 02:38:16 AM
I have played the 'dumb tourist who can't speak any known language' card when it comes to paying by means other than cash in France or Finland (nasty extra charges on a card). I speak to them in Irish.

;D

I have used the same trick for "chuggers" (those people who buttonhole you on shopping streets trying to get you to set up a direct debit for Save Our Donkeys or whatever), who can be irritatingly persistent - just pretend I don't speak English. When I still lived in the UK, I tended to use Russian, as being the language I knew enough of that was least likely to be understood by a random person in the street. But there was always a possibility that the chugger might know enough Russian to see through me (e.g. if they were Polish, which was far from unlikely). Now when I visit the UK and find myself in this situation, I use Swedish, which is considerably less risky in that respect. Irish is practically risk-free!
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Figleaf on December 16, 2021, 08:33:39 AM
Used that trick from time to time in emergencies. It's fine if you don't want to communicate, like in the case of the nasty parking attendant (I am quite safe with Dutch), but if you want to get something done, I prefer looking helpless and speaking the local language with a thick accent (I can do a Scottish accent that fools Scotsmen; works wonders in the US) and not understanding what I don't want to hear. This strategy is known in Dutch as "East Indian deafness". :)

In France, the reaction to not speaking French is quite often "these foreigners all pretend not to speak French", so there, I am replying to the question "do you speak French" with an enthusiastic oui, followed by an advanced case of East Indian deafness. :D

Peter
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: chrisild on December 16, 2021, 12:00:49 PM
In France I would usually say "pardonnez-moi, je ne parle pas français." Well, I speak it to a limited extent. But I learned to be careful - if you say that at least fairly fluently, some will not believe you. ;D  So I will say that quite slowly and with a fat German accent. Works with English too, if the person I talk to speaks the language in a way that is hard to understand for me ...

As for going cashless, attached is one of my fingers (errm, a photo of it) with my payment ring. Now that almost every payment terminal also offers contactless payments, this option is quite convenient. Others use a smartwatch for that; I have my ring. One thing that I particularly like – when I go running, I do not have to have cash or a card with me. On quite a few other occasions I use cash though.

Christian;)
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Elak on December 18, 2021, 03:03:25 AM
A payment ring - my wife gave me one of those! Nice use of tech. How do you avoid paying for things by accident?
A tendency towards the cyborg here, and everyone connected to each other via a network operated, monitored and controlled by 'The system', which charges the users a tiny fee for each interaction. When telepathy is enabled the banks will also charge us for thinking about paying for things.

Hmm, I keep my contactless cards inside a wallet with metal shielding, to avoid accidents.

Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: chrisild on December 18, 2021, 02:36:54 PM
On one hand I like gadgets and trying them out. On the other hand I try to avoid giving "too much" information to a single third party. So yes, I use an Android (even a Google) phone, on the other hand I avoid many of the pre-installed Google apps (including G Pay). It's the "old" issue of convenience vs privacy ...

As for that ring, well, it is "connected" to a credit card but I still need to charge it up separately: In the c/c app, I select an amount (say €50), and swipe a button or switch, then the amount ends up on my ring so to say. Useful also if the ring gets lost; nobody can spend more than the amount that is "on it". The second security feature is the default one for all contactless payments - the payment terminal needs to be activated, and you need to hold the card (or point the payment device) in a certain way/angle. Plus, you get an audible and/or visual signal about the payment.

If I have "only" the ring with me, that should be safe enough. If I have my phone and an actual credit card with me, the c/c app will also alert me about a payment. Frankly, in my opinion that is much safer than carrying cash which can get lost or stolen without any notification. ;)  Now privacy is a different issue - see above.

Christian
Title: Re: Rants on going cashless
Post by: Elak on December 22, 2021, 11:40:12 PM
Yeah, convenience. I have always been willing to accept the responsibility for the possibility that I might lose the cash I carry (has never happened yet, though I did accidentally spend an error banknote once!).
I have two iPhones, and all the bloatware, spamware, spyware etc is switched off. Curiously, I use my phone for, phonecalls and texts, and that is it.
The moment an app asks me where I live, or my date of birth, or anything else it doesn't need, it gets deleted :D