A needs* based system may work well enough for needs, but wants are what drive an economy. The term for an economic system that provides only the needs of the residents is called "subsistence."
It is easy enough to motivate people to make a functional subsistence economy, even when cashless. People are inclined to share life needs, especially if they are part of an interdependent system where no one can provide all of their own needs without others sharing with them. It is more difficult to motivate people to share goods that are deemed wants without trade and it is even more difficult to motivate people to produce a good that they don't need, that they don't want, and that they will not benefit from either the use or production without trade.
Money is by far the fairest way to trade. It objectivizes value by transducing it into equally valuable components that can be fractionalized as needed. To put it simpler, a pound of wool may be worth a hot meal to you, but it is worth ten hot meals to me, and to barter we must agree on a particular value for both but one that can be evenly fractionalized into pounds of wool and hot meals. With money, we can agree that a pound of wool is worth around $2 per pound based on what everyone else is buying and selling it for and we can agree that a hot meal is worth about $6 per meal based on market prices. Because of the pre-agreement of value based on the value judgements of everyone who is buying\selling wool and hot meals, I can sell my wool to anyone and be assured that the value of my wool is not entirely dependent on the particular value judgement of the person I am trading with and leftover value is already fractionalized into smaller currency amounts.
Money is pre-historic. Humans have always used it, while often complaining of its capricious nature, because it works so well. Societies with low money usage have largely been limited to economies facing long, long term liquidity shortages. The most famous example is feudal Europe, where an insufficient amount of gold and silver forced people to trade with labor, land, and "blackmail", non-monetary goods.
*Needs aren't something that really exist in any material sense. We don't need oxygen, water, or food. We just think that we do because we value living so much. This may sound like navel-gazing, but it is important to remember if we try to implement a "needs based" economy, because while everyone is going to agree that oxygen, water, and food are absolutely essential, the further removed from directly continuing a person's life that the need is, the harder it will be to achieve agreement that it is indeed a need that we are all required to contribute to. Yes, you need food, but why should we give you a microwave? Yes, you need to sleep, but isn't a sleeping bag enough? Maybe you'll go crazy if you don't have any entertainment, but does that mean a TV, internet access, and Netflix?