[Dave Birch] In a recent edition of European Card Review, Malte Krueger of Paysys noted that a cashless society is some way away (in fact he calls it a “fairy tale”), not because cash is more efficient but rather because the law ensures unfair competition. This is not because legal tender laws force people to use cash, as is sometimes claimed, because they do not. But there are some laws that do discriminate in favour of it. In Germany, for example, banks are simply not allowed to charge private customers for withdrawing cash. Similar laws would undoubtedly be enacted in other countries should banks try to recover any costs on this side.

Talking about laws on legal tender, once again these have been in the news in the UK.

An attempt is to be made at Westminster to make it legally binding for shops and businesses in England to accept Scottish banknotes.

[From BBC NEWS | Scotland | ‘Legal’ bid over Scots banknotes]

Now, this doesn’t mean what you might think from the headline. Since you cannot force ayone to accept banknotes for anything, you won’t be able to force them to accept Scottish banknotes or Euro banknotes or anything else. The proposed law says that IF you accept Bank of England notes then you must accept Scottish notes. Personally, I’m against this because I think that shopkeepers should be entitled to ask for payment however they want: if my local newsagent puts up a sign saying that he will only accept payment in Zlotys, coloured marbles or 18-carat gold then fine.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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