A Cashless Society — a Talking Points English lesson plan

Many countries prefer people to not use cash when paying for items these days. 

This is a lesson plan about cashless societies. It is a complete lesson plan which you can use immediately in your class today.

It comes complete with:

  • some introductory questions
  • an article for reading
  • a list of reading comprehension questions
  • a table of essential vocabulary
  • a role play
  • a list of discussion questions
  • a writing exercise

You can use this lesson in any English/ESL class. You can also use it for IELTS lessons.

I hope you like it and that you find it useful in your class!





What is a cashless society?

Are there apps to help you pay for things in your country?

Tell the class about these apps.




Mark rarely uses real money.

“I can’t remember the last time I paid for anything with cash,” he says. “It just seems pointless carrying it around.”

Mark uses an app called EasyPay.

“Everyone I know uses it,” he says. “And they make it so convenient. For example, this morning I had to put some gas in my car and I used EasyPay to pay for it. Then I had lunch with my co-workers at work, we all used our EasyPay accounts to pay for lunch. And the restaurant lets you pay one by one. They make it all so easy.”

Everyone in Mark’s social circle uses EasyPay to pay for anything and everything. Every supermarket, every store accepts it. All the cafes and restaurants use it.

“It would be foolish for a business to not accept it,” says Mark. “They would lose so much business if they didn’t.”

But not everyone sees it that way.

One such person is Robert. He lives in the same city as Mark but refuses to use EasyPay. Or any app that allows him to make payments.

“I am very suspicious of these apps,” he says. “Every time anyone uses one of these apps, they can follow you. They know where you are, what products you buy and what kind of food you like to eat. They know too much about us and I don’t think it’s good.”

This makes Robert’s life a little complicated.

“You would be amazed how many companies and shops and other organisations refuse to accept cash nowadays,” he says. “I got in a taxi the other day and tried to pay with some real money and the driver looked at it like it was the first time he had ever seen cash.”

Mark finds Robert’s attitude to EasyPay incredible.

“Why not just use it?” he says. “Sure, they track everything we use it for, but so do all these other apps. People use search engines every day. Do they think these organisations do not use that information? Of course, they do!”

For people like Mark, he just thinks a convenient life is a better life.

“I don’t have to think about whether I have paid the right amount,” he says. “I just wave the QR code to the shop assistant or waiter and that’s it. The app takes care of it all for me. My company will even introduce paying our salaries to the app starting next year. That would make everything so much better for all of us.”

When Robert hears of this, he is horrified.

“What a stupid thing to allow!” he cries. “That means the app now knows where you work and how much you get paid every month. They will now connect all the information from where Mark works to the places where he spends money. I can’t believe he would allow such a thing.”

But for most people, they enjoy the simplicity of it. And there are some safety issues in that people are no longer walking around with large amounts of cash in their wallets or purses.

That said, all that data can be collected and used to advertise products to people. How long before they know about everything we buy?



Reading Comprehension Questions


What does Mark use to pay for things?

Is this payment system popular?

Do many places accept this payment system? Give some examples from the article.

According to Mark, why should a business use this payment system?

Who in the article does not use this payment system? Why not?

Whose life is more convenient? Mark or Robert?

What is Mark’s company going to do?

What does Robert think of this? Why?

According to the article, what is a negative thing about carrying money around?

According to the article, what do these companies do with our information?


Essential Vocabulary









social circle















search engines

QR code





large amounts of cash





Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary

and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebooka small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when


I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”


Money or Your Life!


This is a role-play.

There are two characters in this exercise.

Character 1: You only use EasyPay. You think it is convenient and easy to use. You see no problem with using it.

Character 2: You only use cash. You refuse to use anything else. You think there are security issues with EasyPay.

In the role-play, create a dialogue that lasts for two minutes.

You need to use the following words in your role-play:

  • Convenient
  • Suspicious
  • Ease-of-use
  • Data tracking
  • Insecure
  • Old-fashioned


Discussion Questions


Who do you agree more with in the article? Mark or Robert?

Do you think cash could become redundant? How would we pay for things?

Is there any need for cash at all?

What are the dangers of using an online payment system?

Is a cashless society safer for all of us? Why?

What kind of people or businesses cannot accept payment by app?

Would a cashless society deter thieves?

Is a cashless society good for all classes of people? Is there anyone that a cashless society would not benefit?

When we use cash are we more careful about how much we spend?

Are there any ways thieves could trick us using an online payment system? How?

Would you agree to be paid and pay for everything using a payment app? Why/why not?

What would happen to beggars and homeless people without cash?




Write to EasyPay and demand to know what information they store on you when you use their payment app.

You should word your email very strongly to make sure you get a reply.

Try to give examples of online companies using private data from the user.



Was this lesson plan useful in your class? I would love to know what you think.

Let me know in the comments below!

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A Cashless Society

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2 thoughts on “A Cashless Society — a Talking Points English lesson plan”

  1. I tend to agree with Robert but feel that Mark has fallen into a necessary evil. Technology is giving us advantages but also robbing us of much of our humanity. And my probing question is, what is the ultimate purpose of pushing technology to the limits? I look for hidden agendas in these easy answers and there is a part of me that wishes it could go back to the bartering system!

    1. I guess it makes it easier for companies to track what we buy and where and when we buy it. They like to collect information on everything we do. Thanks very much for your comment, Leona!

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