BLOG: Beware of the data you’re sharing in the new cashless society we’re entering

As we begin to emerge from the lockdown, everyone’s talking about an end to cash and the oncome of IT and apps to pay for your goods and services. But MIKE OLLEY, general manager of Westside BID, warns his members to take care of the data they are sharing.

With the imminent reopening of pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and the rest of civilization, one issue we need to be cautious of is the increasing demands not to use cash.

This means becoming aware of the plethora of untested IT solutions that are currently hitting the market. IT solutions that eliminate cash are not only hungry for your money but are perhaps even ravenous for your data. Are we ready for them?

I am personally really surprised how adapted I have become to not using cash over the years. However, Mrs Olley still likes the comfort of cash – but my nearest and dearest is about to be pounced on by traders no longer wanting her notes and coins.

They will say that it’s all because of COVID-19, but it’s also because of the burden of cash which quite frankly is a menace for most traders.

Believe you me, most general managers welcome the need not to regularly collect hundreds of pounds in loose change and return to the bank with thousands in notes. It’s not safe and it’s a heavy old task.

Technology has an answer, of course it does. But be warned, not all technology does what it states on the tin.

Consider you are seeking to buy double glazing. It may be pessimistic to suggest, but it’s better to believe what’s in the contract as opposed to what the sales representative tells you. That is a life truth.

Entering the marketplace at the moment are a significant number of digital companies. They are all offering technically savvy-sounding solutions to avoid the use of cash.

But beware of what you sign up to. Can all these newbies be trusted? Have they the accreditation in terms of GDPR regulations and data protection in general?

Simply put, can these digital companies be trusted with your data? For data is what they are really after, as much as your money.

From a punter’s perspective, I prefer what I know – using my mobile phone in the manner I was before the pandemic, or waving a debit or credit card, as a preference.

I’m more suspicious of imaginative sounding new ‘apps’ on strange IT platforms that I have to download to my phone. Proceed with some level of caution, I say…

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