/ Money

Don’t close down cash now that we’re opening up

The warning lights continue to flash for the future of cash. Here’s why the government cannot afford to ignore them.

For the 5.4 million people in this country reliant on cash in their everyday lives, the story of dwindling access to it is a familiar one. When we surveyed over 2,000 people in July, more than half of them had encountered access to cash or banking issues. 

But it is the speed at which these changes are happening that is of most concern.

Our analysis of recent data from LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network, revealed that the number of ATMs in service has dropped by almost 8,000 (or 13 per cent) since March 2020 and shows no signs of recovering now that the economy is opening up.

It isn’t just ATMs. Bank branch closures have also ramped up since the first national lockdown: 801 have shut their doors so far and a further 103 are earmarked for closure by the end of the year. 

A worrying trend

As we look to build back better from the pandemic, we cannot exclude certain groups of consumers, including those reliant on cash, from participating in the recovery. Encouraging cash usage also helps boost local economies since we know that those who take cash out are more likely to spend it locally.

Yet protecting access to cash is only part of the problem – the other, equally important, side of the coin is whether shops and businesses even accept it. Unless retailers can commit to taking cash as a payment method, ensuring reasonable access to it will hardly matter.

Our survey in June found that over a fifth of respondents had experienced cash refusal since March. A small number of shops have previously refused to accept cash due to the cost of handling it (security protection, paying people to count and deposit it). But many have stopped doing so during the pandemic amid confusion over how the virus spreads, or because they have shifted their business models online. 

However, data suggests that this reluctance to accept cash is happening against the will of consumers.

We found that over 80% of people thought that businesses and shops should continue to take cash, including those that don’t use it themselves. Businesses agree. A recent Post Office survey revealed that far from finding cash to be a relic of the past, two thirds of firms thought it was important to the recovery of the UK retail industry.

Our Cash Friendly pledge

Firms that can should state clearly that they will will continue to accept cash from consumers who still rely on it – as many have done by taking Which?’s Cash Friendly pledge.

The initiative is supported by organisations such as the Bank of England and British Retail Consortium, large retailers such as John Lewis and Aldi, as well as many independent shops and businesses across the UK. 

The government has proposed that the FCA becomes the lead regulator of the cash network. In this role, its responsibilities should extend to tracking levels of cash refusal to better understand the scale of the issue. If necessary, it should also develop solutions so that cash dependent consumers aren’t left in a position where they can’t purchase essential products and services.

The warning lights are flashing for the future of cash – and the government cannot afford to ignore them. 

Comments

I have been scammed by a company named Neuer Capital or as they are now Ncapital and the scammers names are Christopher Green and Shane Dupree they are the scammers and I have lost my savings to the low life they will ask you to down lode a app called Any Desk. I have lost £ 100,0000 to the scammers and my bank HSBC will not give me my money back. But they have said that I am a victim of a thing called Pushscam and found in my favour but are she saying that they will not give me my money back

Scammed? Really?

Whether they are dishonest or not, Neuer Capital / Ncapital provide a crypto-currency trading platform. Anyone who chooses to put their money in a speculative, unregulated Tulip or South Sea Bubble scheme that they do not understand (and nor does anyone else), not backed by any assets, cannot possibily expect to receive any form of financial protection to save them from their bad investments.

Please, please avoid these get-rich-quick schemes and invest in UK FTSE 100 backed unit or investment trusts, if keeping your money in the Building Society isn’t exciting enough.

Arthur Wrigleo says:
17 September 2021

Fell for an Adblock advert on Facebook just £2.99 I thought, but it turned out to be £3.59 – they didnt mention the vat – but worse, if you ignored all the warnings from your security software – you would expect it to flag some dubiousness – you then get a bill for the VPN that is needed at £59.99 – a generous discount of course – then you only find you’ve been done an hour later when the PayPal bill appears. We will see if they honour the refund policy. But this is a scam if if ever I saw one. Sucker.
Of course I now cannot find the article that I fell for.

Glenn Heaton says:
19 September 2021

Email account was hacked into, so emailed numerous companies to inform them and change my contact info. Most of them replied on my OLD account to tell me they had changed to my new address.
So much for security!