/ Money

Cash Summit: Securing our Freedom to Pay

We’re today hosting a follow-up summit to ensure cash remains a viable method of payment. We’re also launching our Cash Friendly Pledge – here’s how it works.

Post-meeting update

At today’s Cash Summit we were delighted to hear Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen confirm that a consultation on cash legislation will be launched in the Summer. This is an extremely positive development towards getting these critical long term protections introduced.

The government must deliver at pace on it’s promises, or risk leaving the cash system vulnerable to further damage. 

We also heard about UK Finance’s commitment to protecting access to cash, and the launch of its new Cash Action Group, which will be led by Access to Cash Review Chair, Natalie Ceeney, in addition to renewed commitments from the Post Office and major banks to supporting the provision of cash access for consumers.

While we welcome and support efforts from across the cash system to make progress on this issue, we are clear that voluntary initiatives or public commitments can not replace government or regulatory oversight. 

We now need a firm commitment from the Treasury on when this legislation to protect cash will be introduced, as the system will continue to be under enormous pressure until it is brought forward. 

Cash summit

Two years on from our first Cash Summit, we’re bringing together key figures from across government, regulators and the payments industry again to cover the challenges, following the outbreak of the pandemic, as well as the potential solutions, to ensuring cash can remain a viable method of payment for those with no other option.

Now is a critical juncture in the fight to protect access to cash. Despite the government’s commitment to legislation in last year’s Budget, this has still not been introduced, and we remain deeply concerned at the slow rate of progress in getting these protections agreed and in place.

Today, our Chief Executive Anabel Hoult will be calling on the government to set out when legislation to protect access to cash will be brought forward, and to provide greater clarity about its long term plan to ensure that the millions still reliant on cash can continue to access it as the shift to digital intensifies.

The event will include speeches and contributions from Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen, FCA Executive Director of Consumers and Competition Sheldon Mills, Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the powerful Access to Cash review, Matt Hammerstein, CEO of Barclays, Jeni Mundy, MD of Visa UK & Ireland, David Postings, CEO of UK Finance and Nick Butt, Head of the Future Money Division at the Bank of England. 

Our Cash Friendly Pledge

To coincide with our event, we’re also launching our Cash Friendly Pledge, working with some of the biggest names in retail to protect people’s ability to spend cash.

The pandemic has undoubtedly had a dramatic impact on the way we access and spend cash. While many people have successfully made the jump to digital payments, enjoying the convenience and speed that cards and contactless can offer, there still remain millions of consumers who rely on cash.

In fact, our recent research found that 2.5 million people depend on cash for every transaction, while 10 million people say they are unready, or unable, to give it up. 

However, with more people shopping online and concerns that cash is unsafe to handle – which have since been debunked by the Bank of England – some businesses have discouraged the use of cash over card, or gone completely cashless altogether, leaving millions shut out from buying the things they need.

Late last year we found around one in three consumers had reported being unable to pay with cash at least once when trying to buy something since coronavirus restrictions were first introduced, including even essentials like food and medicine. 

That’s where our Cash Friendly Pledge comes in: a public commitment from businesses that they’re accepting cash as a payment method across their stores.

Who’s taken the pledge?

So far, we’ve seen some of the biggest supermarkets and pharmacies take our Pledge, including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, John Lewis, LloydsPharmacy and Waitrose. What’s more, we’ve also been backed by leading retail associations that represent tens of thousands of shops across the country.

The British Retail Consortium, Association of Convenience Stores and the British Independent Retailers Association are all encouraging their members to sign up. The Bank of England has said that by signing up “businesses are helping to ensure that everyone in the UK is able to use the form of payment that best meets their needs”.

You can find out more about the pledge and see the full list of businesses involved here.

Additionally, we’ve supplied retailers with Cash Friendly Logos which they can use to signpost their cash accepting status in store and online, ensuring consumers feel confident that their cash won’t be rejected at the till. 

Which businesses would you like to see take the pledge? Let us know if you’ve spotted the logos while out and about and help us ensure that cash remains a viable payment method.

David says:
8 July 2021

I’m not entirely convinced by the Which position on banking fraud. I agree that banks must refund money when they are at fault or have failed to identify or block likely fraud withdrawals and payments, but customers must also take responsibility too. Otherwise the costs will inevitably fall on the majority of customers who responsibly manage their affairs to avoid falling for frankly obvious scams.

The problem is that the scams aren’t obvious to a lot of people. Plus, I’m not sure the victims are falling for them because they’re being irresponsible. It’s more likely to be lack of understanding, which leads to the elderly/less digitally literate being hit hardest. No one wants to get scammed. Having worked at a bank, these appeared to be the majority of victims.

lynda says:
8 July 2021

Banks are the biggest scammers in the country Aided by the Financial Ombudsman and the corrupt Government. I have had my account blocked because of Computers and staff who think computers can calculate. My bills were refused and every company they claimed was a scammer ie Council Tax, electricity, Gas, I was housebound but had no way of getting cash or paying ( groceries you had to have a a letter from your GP saying you were vulnerable. My GP wasn’t even able to diagnose I had type 2 diabetes or asthma as well as other disabilities so no letter no shopping slot. SSE were supposed to register me on their vulnerable list and read my outside meters. They had so many staff “working ” from home they still haven’t worked out that you don’t need to enter a house and be kept safe from wild dogs when the meters are outside. My pension etc being blocked was apparently a breach of my Human Rights according to some Government department. Sad fact is they don’t have anyone who can do anything to stop it. As a result I had no food and my weekly amounts carried on being paid to my account. One day when an MPs assistant decided I needed a Social Worker. this SW came twice but was only their on an “advisory capacity”. like CAB on legs. She brought a Council woman eventually after the Council threatened legal action for non payment ( despite them registering me disabled some time earlier). Woman decided something that was supposed to be a safely in a Trust for my Mortgage ( arranged by DWP) was my savings then a Clinical negligence payment which I said I wasn’t accepting was also savings so add that to the Pension and benefits I couldn’t get out of my bank and I was rich in these womens’ eyes. I had to get a friend take me to the nearest bank branch ( local are all closed and Tesco has some kind of arrangement with the Bank for ATMs. The Manager was rude and harassing to my friend and to me. He kept us in the bank from 2pm till after 6pm while he rang the Police who came to accuse my friend of being a scammer. He has dark skin and is younger than me. I was appalled but complained. The bank had several staff respond ( none of them were in the bank. The Officer was from another police area to mine so he was never questioned. The various staff wrote back “none of our staff would ever be racist, ageist or against disabled”. I wish they had all been in NatWest that day but of course as many people have commented Banks are BIG BUSiNESSES they are not there to help the consumer but to help their CEO and others to make huge sums for their own savings. MPs daren’t get involved in case they need a Bank position when they outlive their usefulness. I have survived but yet another Bank failed to open an account in the time they said they would ( its all Covid’s fault). As a result I have lost a 5 figure sum inheritance because Lawyer has gone bust and two companies dealing with his administration have side stepped responsibility. None of them care and why would they as long as Governments can pretend they are helping the country while fleecing their own nests
Today’s comments about not upholding the Triple lock on pensions is yet another insult to those who depend on state pensions. 8% sounds a lot when added to the controversial comments that Nurses have been offered below inflation. The fact is that even on Full pension 8% per per person per year does not make all pensioners rich overnight so TV and everyone else should stop spouting that this is going to cost the Government 3 billion pounds. Maybe they could stop paying rich people who went off to live abroad on hight salaries and perks then when Covid Struck decided they better get back to the UK for Free NHS care.

Ja,ela king says:
8 July 2021

What about campaigning against Thames water keeping disputes with the elderly for years . Do they hope to claim from their estates? We, ordinary citizens have unsubstantiated debts hanging over our heads and even if can prove we do not owe this money- there is no way we can settle the matter. The ombudsman and other charities are unable to cope with the case loads. We need new commercial laws to deal with call centres and establish new pathways for consumer disputes. Like a previous commentator, I am not sure which’s heart is in the right place. We need a consumer tzar like Ralph Nayder used to be in the States. A champion for the consumer.

Malcolm Scott says:
8 July 2021

In my opinion it isn’t enough for banks for eventually accept their responsibilities and refund those who have been defrauded, we should be seeing the scammers brought to justice, someone should be chasing them down. It’s a massive loss to the UK budget, the balance of payments, the government should care about that.

David says:
8 July 2021

How does it happen? Someone calls to tell that your bank account has been accessed and a payment is in progress (often £900). They want your details to stop the payment. Now, if anyone is stupid enough to believe this they deserve what they get. Occasionally I hit the reply button, just to see what happens. It’s always the same. Someone with a not English accent (you know who I mean) answers and attempts to dupe you into giving personal information. Just tell them to “bugger off”. Better still, let the phone ring out. It’s normally 3 rings before they try another hapless potential victim.

Michael says:
8 July 2021

Fed up with phone calls from call centres, everything from “microsoft” “fake insurance” to “diamond “ investments.
Got a BT landline phone with call barring and filtering service. Works well but still not perfect.
However still getting scam calls & messages on the mobile. Trying to block the number shown doesn’t work. Probably faked numbers anyway.
Always very, very, careful now with both phone and computer messages and searches.

Howard says:
8 July 2021

These scammers obtain bank accounts. How can they get an account? When you seek a new bank account yourself it requires detailed information. As I see it Banks are AIDING scammers. Then when someone is scammed they seem to picky with the account holder!

Angela says:
8 July 2021

Just had a phone call from 07690623876 to say that my National Insurance number is going to be cancelled because of fraudulent activities. I was told to press 1 to find out more. I put the phone down.

Ellen says:
8 July 2021

I have had the NI scam recently, TV license scam email wanting bank details (I don’t have a TV) banks saying I’ve authorised a payment to a bogus name, a Tax phone call saying I had a fraud against my name and I could be arrested! But anything that comes from a Mobile phone I immediately delete it as I know it will be a scam. These people rely on trying to scare decent folk.
I no longer read emails from people or businesses I don’t recognise I just delete them which in some cases means I genuinely miss out on things which is annoying.
What really makes me angry is that these evil people pray on the vulnerable and there doesn’t seem to be any real come back on them. I personally think big businesses should be held responsible if people are using their name to scam people. They have more wherewithal to combat this than the general public.

Sue Barlow says:
8 July 2021

Some one called advising government offering a new boiler to all over 70 years old. I explained not over 70 so not applicable to myself. Put the phone down and within 5 mins same number called asking to speak to me and advising me not only a new boiler but to refresh my loft insulation, all paid for by UK government, I refused and 2 days later same offer in 2 separate phone calls. This went on for next week, in the end blocked calls.

I don’t have a high regard for banks in the first place…….far too many over the years have perpetrated their own scams/fraud. I think those that have been well-publicised are the tip of the ice-berg. For sure there is a degree of international co-operation, sometimes it feels like the crims are smarter than the financial institutions (who have huge fraud depts), Governments are always playing catch-up…..and let’s be honest, our Government (and the Civil Service) don’t seem to be that competent at maintaining data security anyway. While it is good there is so much information out there on existing scams, what to do if you encounter one, changes to bank processes that can stop large payments going through etc. etc, I am conscious that a momentary lapse in concentration can have dire consequences….even for the most well-informed. Always really grateful to organisations like Which, MSE et al for keeping us so well informed and going to bat on our behalf. Keeping track as an individual is quite a challenge these days.

8 July 2021

I had 4 calls yesterday re the NI scam & now awaiting to be arrested by the National Criminal Fraud office. All the calls were from mobile tel numbers & I wanted to report them so that immediate action could be taken, not easy to find who I should report them to, mobile tel companies should be able to trace who is operating them & close them down immediately

Diana Jean Park says:
8 July 2021

I received an odd email supposedly from my Bank Santander. It took me two days to get through to the Bank to warn them. When there is fraud or a scam there should be something on the Bank’s menu regarding fraud /scam which should give you immediate access to a department or a person. I tried Chat (horrible slow method of communication) and somehow the words “scam email” did not mean anything. I gave up and tried different methods the following day. Presumably the perpetrators were trying other possible email addresses during that period of time. I hope nobody was taken in.

Abdul Swaleh says:
8 July 2021

The Regulator should act in the public interest- by upholding consumer rights- and not withstanding commercial pressures but – be seen to act and uphold these rights.

I get numerous phone calls and text messages all clearly scams yes they are getting more sophisticated but after all the publicity on how to spot a scam how are people still being scammed.

Paul Doolan says:
8 July 2021

Very poorly phrased question. You needed to answer in the positive for the negative outcome. The reading and comprehension levels will be too difficult for a high percentage of readers. Your question setters and moderators need a reminder of what they are trying to achieve!

Richard says:
9 July 2021

It seems too bad that the only way to stop scam calls etc., is to purchase a device to support the telephone system.
My provider has said that my landline phone system would not be compatible to enable this?
Maybe I should check my mobile smart phone to check if this could enable phone system locking?

Pete says:
9 July 2021

I find that if I follow the correct procedure supplied by any provider and treat all requests with suspicion scams just will not work. However banks and companies must also do more with their own procedures

Just had a phone call from Benefits UK – 07314647455 – wanting to know what I felt about services? think they said they were a data management company……hung up too quickly, should have asked for more information … it seems Dundee City Council have issued an alert about this company.
Be alert folks….can understand why people would engage with this ‘agency’ given its name – but clearly it is up to no good

Russell says:
9 July 2021

Recently I had a fraudulent purchase on my credit card, which I got refunded. I have never bought anything from that company using that credit card. A few days later I had numerous landline telephone calls with the same recorded message, from different telephone and mobile numbers, telling me my Account with that company had been renewed and I had been charged £79.99. I do not have and never have had an Account with that company. I had already cancelled the credit card so £79.99 was not able to be taken. The trick is to check all bank and credit card transactions and to take swift action.