In Belgium we’re paying less and less with cash. Day after day, the number of cash withdrawals from ATMs is falling. Yet it is important that we continue ensuring that everyone has access to cash. However, a collective approach from society as a whole is required. Under the name ‘Cash 2025’ all the parties involved will be able to share their ideas about the future of cash in our country.
Cash is on the wane. We are more and more using all sorts of different types of banking apps to make payments. And the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated this digital evolution even further. So it is high time for us to rethink the current money infrastructure in Belgium. For this reason, the four major banks (BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius, ING and KBC) are launching the Batopin initiative: a new neutral network of CASH points, distributed across the whole country in a smart way. The rollout of this large-scale project begins this summer and will be completed by the end of 2024. Another important initiative is Jofico, which groups a number of banks that will continue to provide ATMs under their own brand names (Argenta, Axa, bpost, Crelan and vdk bank).
However, creating the ideal cash machine network is not just a matter for the banks. Society as a whole benefits from the more efficient use of cash, particularly in these digital times. For that reason, Batopin is launching the ‘Cash 2025’ conversation. It will enable all of the parties involved (consumers, merchants, associations, towns, cities and municipalities, etc.) to pool their thoughts about the future of cash in our society. ‘Cash 2025’ is all about interacting with society and local authorities and creates an excellent basis for exchanging ideas and presenting the best possible solutions.
According to economists, cash will be with us for some time to come. All of us sometimes still pay for things with cash, rather than digital. But cash also plays an important role with regard to financial inclusion in society. Some people have little or no easy access to digital methods of payment, or simply don’t know how to go about it.
So don’t write cash off yet. Not cashless, but less cash: the road to using less cash is being paved in Belgium. Step by step, in a process that will take several years. A collective approach with one clear goal in mind: to create the best possible cash network in Belgium by 2025. This is ‘Cash 2025’.