Is it possible to live entirely without cash for a year? In
March 2008, Londoner James Allan set out to prove that it could be
done. More than a year on and the 25-year-old web content editor
has been vindicated and is determined to press on for another
During his one-year experiment, Allan carried no bank notes, coins
or even stamps, instead relying only on his Visa payWave
contactless card to pay for purchases.
“My main motivation behind the adventure was that I do not like
using cash,” said Allan.
“I much prefer cards because I feel they are far safer – if you
lose cash or someone steals it, you can’t get it back but if the
same happens with a card, you can easily cancel it
“Also, I wanted to see if it was possible to live a cash-free life
as I believe it will only be a matter of time before we are all
living this way.”
Allan conceded that when he started off on his venture he was
uncertain if it would be possible to remain cashless for a
“But it has been far easier than I thought,” said Allan.
In London Allan had access to some 9,000 contactless payments
terminals in various retailers in and on commuting routes where
payments of up to £10 ($14.50) can be made. Where contactless
facilities were not available Allan resorted to chip and PIN card
However, indicative of a growing acceptance of contactless
payments, Allan said: “I have seen an increase in places like taxis
and bars where I can use contactless cards.
“I can’t imagine I will ever go back to using cash again.”