/ Money

Protect access to cash: email your MP

Today we’re launching a new tool enabling people to send an email to their MP, asking them to push the government to support people who need access to cash.

24/03/22: Email your MP

After more than 6,000 letters were sent to more than 800 local and regional papers by our campaign supporters last month, today we’re launching a new tool that enables people to email their MP.

The government committed to legislate to protect access to cash two years ago, but it still hasn’t been introduced. This is despite the pandemic putting significant pressure on the cash network, ongoing cuts to the bank branch and ATM network, and the release of a Call for Evidence and Consultation on legislative proposals last year. 

If urgent action isn’t taken to protect access to cash for consumers, millions of people who depend on cash will be at risk of financial exclusion with no way to pay for the goods and services they need in their daily lives.

Please email your MP and ask them to raise the issue in Parliament, to get answers from HM Treasury around when legislation will be introduced. 

Use our tool to email your MP here

16/03/22: Update: 6,461 letters sent

Thank you to everyone who took part in this initiative last month. Thanks to you, 6,461 letters were sent to newspapers, up and down the country, from people frustrated by the increasing number of ATM and bank branch closures – impacting both them and their community.

16/02/22: Write to local papers

Today we’re asking people to write to their regional papers to highlight the impact of lost access to cash in their community, raise awareness about the issue and encourage the government to take action.

(this supporter action initiative has now closed – thank you to everyone who took part)

Lost access to cash not only impacts individuals, but the communities they’re a part of. Local businesses often form the heart of local communities, but many have suffered enormously as a result of the pandemic, with successive lockdowns forcing them to shut their doors for months at a time.

Cash refusal

We’ve found an increase in cash refusal since the start of the pandemic, with acceptance rates still not back to what they were despite restrictions being lifted. And not only has cash been getting more difficult to spend, the pandemic has deepened problems with accessing it too, with ATM and bank branch closures affecting local communities across the country. 

There’s no denying that digital payments are a good thing, providing real benefits to many consumers. Despite this, the UK is just not ready to go completely cashless. There are millions of people who are reliant on cash who aren’t yet ready or able to move to digital payments, and they will continue to need to withdraw and spend it. This includes some of society’s most vulnerable.

These concerns have been voiced by small businesses, two thirds of whom have identified cash as a factor that they think will be important to their recovery. 

But action needs to be taken to protect these customers. If the current trend of ATM and bank branch closures continue, more consumers will be left without access to a key payment method, with a potentially devastating knock-on effect on local businesses and the communities they are part of.

Write to your local paper

That’s why today, we’re launching our new tool, which enables people to write to their local and regional newspapers and spread the word amongst other local residents. Let’s get this issue on the agenda of local political representatives.

Make sure your messages using the tool are assertive but polite. Keep them brief (around 150-200 words is ideal) – we’ve listed a full set of tips on how to go about it on the page.

Will you help us raise awareness? Let us know your experiences of cash refusal, bank branch and ATM closures in the comments.

Comments

We booked a restaurant in London two weeks ago, but I cancelled it when I discovered they only accept cash – almost unheard of in London.

I pay in restaurants by credit card and I refuse to use cash for the following reasons:

1. I don’t want to have to go to a cash machine before a meal and to guess how much cash I will need to withdraw. I similarly don’t want to have to leave a restaurant at the end of a meal to go to a cash machine.

2. Cash transactions do not give me a consolidated electronic record of how much I have paid to all payees.

3. My credit cards give me airmiles or points on my expenditure.

4. A restaurant bill will rarely come to a round amount such as 20, 30, 40 etc, so most payments require change to be given, which I cannot easily deposit back into my bank account.

5. Cash is typically handled by hundreds or thousands of different people, and I don’t want to handle physical money that is invisibly contaminated with other people’s dirt and germs.

6. A cash economy facilitates tax evasion.

7. I stopped using cash more than 7 years ago. I refuse to take a step backwards by reverting to using cash.

I believe that card payments should be compulsory for all retail businesses.

I would avoid eating in any restaurant or use any other business that refused to take electronic payments. They are almost certainly running some kind of scam. In which case, they are probably not too fussed about the source of their food or public hygiene either.

It should be the customer’s choice. But, I always decline the “Add a gratuity?” or service charge and leave a tip in cash. It is more likely that the money finds its way into the staff’s pockets and it saves 20% VAT by not adding it to the bill.

Not taking electronic payments is a bit odd unless they had a problem with their payment system. Our local curry house couldn’t take credit cards one night so we just paid the next week.

We also always try to leave a tip as cash to the server otherwise management often pocket most of it.

NFH – Ahem. As I have mentioned before it is safe to handle cash and I have not seen any information to the contrary from a trustworthy source. There are far more bugs on your hands and body than on coins and notes. The usual advice is to wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before handling food, which is what my mum taught me as a kid.

Incidentally I have moved away from using cash except for dealing with charity donations. I have also not worked out to pay for fresh eggs from local farms because the honesty boxes are cash-only. 🥚🥚

Cash, cheques, credit cards, online payments are all ways many people choose to pay. Most have those choices and I see no need to propose excluding any of them just because they might not be your own favoured method.

If you read the “access to cash” conversation very many valid reasons are made why cash should be, and will be retained. I choose to pay for a number of things in cash, whether sports games fees, raffles, National Lottery, my cleaner and my grandchildren’s pocket money.

alfa – no, it was not a temporary problem with their card terminal(s). This was my first reaction, but they told me that it was not a temporary problem; they don’t take cards at all. Extraordinary, especially for London.

Jenny says:
10 March 2022

I second the reader who said he paid electronically but left a cash tip. Stops the tips being taken by the management. I do also check if the server gets the tip. I think Starbucks but not sure, pool all the tips and give the money equally to the servers.

Chris says:
10 March 2022

What age are you and everyone else that does not see that this is just one more step to eradicate personal choice and Human Rights. I don’t want every crook, criminal, Government Croney etc knowing EVERYTHING about what I do, where, when and how I choose to spend my hard earned money which is by cash. I have worked in the community and I see so much sorrow caused by people getting into debt, people losing homes etc. I also don’t want a future the youth are bombarded by unsolicited emails every month e.g. when a young woman is on her period or a young man wants to purchase condoms. I could not care less about those having affairs whose expenditure will show up on credit card bills or the financial institutions making a bundle out of everyone but the rich. I can assure you it will be those less well of that will suffer. I am fortunate enough to have been born in the early 60’s and can see all human rights being eroded in this country. Maybe everyone who doesn’t object to only using card never intends to have an affair or hide what they pay for a present for their partner or are more likely already in the corporate world earning a bundle who can afford several bank accounts, including those offshore. You only pay interest on accounts when in negative figures!!!

Kevin Barrett says:
16 February 2022

I’m with you.
My small town has three cash machines!

Reading the above comment on how convenient to pay by card, if the person say lost his card or forgot to take it with him to the restaurant, I,m showing an example to why Cash is King to an awful lot of us and it helps us live within our mean,s.

I believe this person has card details securely stored in their phone and some cash in reserve, just like I do.

Phil – how would someone be more likely to forget to take a card with them than to forget to take cash with them? The latter seems far more likely. The same goes for loss or theft. In any case, I would immediately notice if I didn’t have my wallet in my pocket when leaving home. It could never happen.

Wavechange – you are right. I pay with Apple Pay on my iPhone or Apple Watch. And I do carry a £50 note, €100 note and $100 note for emergencies.

I don’t expect that you need the notes very often. I had to use a note when I paid to have my hair cut last year because the ‘machine was broken’.

I’m keen that you and I can avoid cash but equally keen that others can use it if they wish.

I do have some sympathy for the tiny minority who, for whatever reason, are IT-phobic. However, I can’t help but feel frustrated when someone at the head of a long queue is laboriously counting out cash, and then waiting for change, and a receipt. Modern technology is so easy and convenient to use – for most of us – in my case, just 2 clicks on my iWatch and I can make an immediate payment and get an e-receipt recorded onto the device. Job done, in about 10 seconds flat.

I had not realised that these people were wasting my time. Perhaps the solution is to use no-cash tills where possible and use the time saved to go on a course to learn tolerance, or maybe just read the comments from those who want to carry on using cash, which is more than a tiny minority.

The correct response for anyone wearing a £200+ iWatch is to push their way to the head of the queue. Then graciously offer to pay the bill. Not only will they get to jump the queue, but they will save everyone else the inconvenience of being held up by a technophobe.

Oh, and while there, complain to the management about the long queues in their store. I’ll bet it didn’t form the minute someone decided to pay in cash.

Or get the attention of the supervisor and ask them to open more tills, failing that just ask the checkout operator.

I’m starting to feel sorry for Phil, who has more than my comment to put up with. But only slightly sorry. 😉

Phil is using his technology to shorten the queuing time for others. It does not normally take long to count out cash and get the receipt, certainly not in the context of the time most people take to do their shopping, load the conveyor and put their food into bags in their trolley.

I use a loyalty card followed by a contactless card. That’s quick.

Aren’t you forgetting something here, that some folk have learning disabilities and don’t always have the ability to be so tech savvy, and in my long and hard bitten experience “convenience” often comes at far too high a price, something I learned long ago. For some folk cash is their only option, and in my experience supermarket card readers are far too unreliable and keep repeatedly declining a totally valid and perfectly functioning card and making me look a right idiot, or like some kind of would be fraudster when I’m nothing of the sort, even when I have plenty funds in my account. And another thing I hate about supermarkets is those customers who load up a huge trolley to about twice it’s capacity and then barge in in front of me just as I arrive at the checkout when there’s only that one operating and there’s no self service checkout machines, and I have a bus to catch at a time like when the lockdown started and the buses were cut right back to only one an hour and I have cold food which I need to get home to the fridge quick. We don’t all have the convenience of a dirty great super-size four wheel drive which can be loaded right up to it’s roof. So the argument about “convenience” works both ways.

Yes we should think about other people. Thanks to working in teaching I learned that there are some bright people with dyslexia and other problems that find it difficult to do what many of us find easy.

Mohammed Yousuf says:
16 February 2022

I do not agree with the government to go as a cashless society, how can you live in this world without any money in your pocket and just relying on plastic card, ? ( this is outrageous and being controlled by the stupid government, I hope to God Almighty that it doesn’t happen…

Mohammed — To be clear, it is the government’s policy to protect access to cash, not to render it useless, and to that end it is sponsoring major trials of alternative cash delivery mechanisms so that all citizens have reasonable access to cash. In fact, with the Post Office agreement with the major banks, there is better access to cash and basic banking services now than ever before.

If anything is driving a cashless society it is certain commercial interests which have made using it difficult or impossible, sometimes for spurious reasons. Card use can be convenient, but cash should remain the default position and businesses need to acknowledge that and cope with it without resistance or complaint. They are here to serve us all, not restrict our freedoms.

It would help if Which? were clear(er) about the real situation of the future of cash to prevent this kind of misunderstanding.

Businesses are not obliged to accept cash any more than they have ever had to accept cards. With the declining use of cash, it’s time for the government to require essential businesses to accept cash to help the many who still depend on it. It would be up for debate what represents an essential business.

It’s often pointed out that we are not going to become a cashless society soon but in my opinion it’s vital that we get on to protect the interests of those who want to use cash. I hope that Which? will have a role in making this happen.

We need both cash and cards for payment, so simple, why use a card for a few pence when cash is more sensible, and cards for larger amounts. People must be given the choice, if a business will only take one or the other then they should be made to close as both are legally valid methods of payment and theoretically they have to accept them. If not they are breaking the law, so please inform them and report if they do not accept this.

Michael — There is no legal requirement for a business to accept cash or cards in payment for goods or services; the payment method is at its discretion. If it wishes to refuse to accept cash it will be in its own interests to make that clear at the entrance. The only limitation is that where cash is accepted, the business can legitimately insist on legal tender. Businesses have the right to decide what is in their commercial interests and weigh up whether the loss of trade for denying a particular form of payment is worth it.

No one can force a business to trade with them, regardless of the means of payment offered.

There is also a lot of confusion over the term “legal tender”, which is of no relevance in everyday commerce. (The concept of legal currency does have significance – you cannot pay with forged banknotes or perhaps Bitcoin if that were outlawed.)

If you owe a debt to someone, an offer to settle the debt in legal tender extinguishes the debt in law, whether or not the creditor chooses to accept that form of payment. It means they cannot then sue you for non-payment of the debt. If you offered to pay them with a cow or a bag full of pennies and they refused your offer, they could still sue you for non-payment, as those forms of payment are not legal tender.

Technically, you can only settle a debt in Scotland with coins, since neither Scottish nor English bank notes are legal tender. English bank notes are legal tender in England. The creditor may of course agree to accept payment of a debt in other denominations tendered, or even a cow, but cannot legally be made to do so.

The concept of legal tender does not arise in most retail trades, because no debt has been incurred prior to offer and acceptance of the bargain. Either party can decline to complete the trade for any reason, and not just because they don’t like the colour of your money.

I hope everyone who comments here in support of access to cash will be writing to their local or regional newspaper as suggested by the introductory article. Which? has even provided a tool to assist with writing a letter.

The introduction stating “…..impact of lost access to cash in their community…..”, seems misleading because with the services offered by 11500 post offices and the introduction of 2000 retailers offering cash without purchase, there are now as many outlets giving access to cash as there have been ATMs at their peak in 2015.

(Edited 21:00 – the hints on what to say in your letter to the local paper ignore the changes that have been made, and are being made, to access cash. I find this projection of unbalanced and partial information quite wrong).

What is needed is the introduction of the promised legislation protecting the future of cash.

I raised similar concerns about Which?’s biased approach to access to cash and negative stance to developments in a previous Conversation. https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/cashback-without-purchase-schemes-access-cash/#comment-1644146 and other comments. Which? chose not to give a proper response and that intro has still not been corrected.

Malcolm — I agree with your comments on the way that Which? is distorting the position. I also agree that the primary objective of raising media awareness is to get the legislation on protecting cash in place as soon as possible before the situation becomes irretrievable.

I was thinking about what I was going to say in a letter to the Eastern Daily Press and soon realised I had little with which to substantiate the points suggested by Which?.

I did a count-up of the cash facilities available around where we live close to the city centre of Norwich. It is true that the number of ATM’s is fewer than it was a few years ago but the reduction has not made much difference to the overall distribution. Most of those removed were in clusters and were probably uneconomic before the coronavirus emergency. The number of bank and building society branches is about half what it used to be but this has generally resulted in bigger and better branches going forward. Overall, the rationalisation has therefore led to an improvement in customer facilities and none of the banks or building societies have closed altogether; they are still all present in the main shopping and commercial centre, some of them in more convenient locations or in premises with more space and easier access for people with disabilities.

The only slight drawback is that the post office, which once occupied a large space in a shopping mall, located a few years ago to the rear of the large W H Smith shop in the main shopping street. This clearly does not have the capacity required for the volume of customers using it and queuing is sometimes a problem with excess numbers spilling out into W H Smith’s trading area and even out of the door at busy times. To make the space for the post office available W H Smith moved their stationery stock upstairs to their book department but there is no lift so that has become difficult for some customers.

When considering access to cash in our immediate local area I saw there there had been no change. We are within a short walk of two cash machines, one outside a Sainsbury’s superstore and the other, even closer, on the outside of a Tesco Express [which can also dispense £200 or more but I haven’t tested how much more]. Tesco’s also have nine other shops in and around the central area each with an ATM. Each of the four major superstore operators have one or more stores with an ATM in the city suburbs. M&S, John Lewis, Wilko and the two shopping malls in the city centre also have ATM’s. There are over sixteen fuel stations in and around the built-up area of Norwich most of which seem to have a cash machine.

This is a snapshot of the situation in a populous city and would not reflect the overall position nationally, Most of the UK’s population probably lives in built-up areas with similar characteristics, and probably visits a supermarket at least once a week, so I find it hard to accept the full thrust of Which?’s campaign and have decided not to write to the papers because we personally are not being disadvantaged in any meaningful way.

I have sympathy with the scores of people who have commented here about the withdrawal of cash facilities in their smaller towns and communities but I think before long the provision of LINK machines where there is a deficiency, the basic banking services offered by thousands of local post offices, the availability of cash without purchase at many other shops and through cash-back, and eventually the roll-out of banking hubs will make adequate provision and, to some extent, offset the losses of ATM’s and bank branches that have occurred.

I wish all the branches and cash machines had not been closed, and I have been a critic of the banks’ methods of closing local branches, but the basic laws of supply and demand cannot be denied and have a bearing on their economic viability. I feel that customers do need to make reasonable adjustments and experience shows that the vast majority have been able to do so. We need to make sure that help is at hand, though, for those customers who will be seriously disadvantaged by the withdrawal of convenient access to cash, so more effort is required from the banks and they need to know, understand, and communicate with their customers much better than they have done so far.

I might be saving money by cancelling my WHICH subscription.

Where I live there’s a new retail park with an aldi, iceland, m&s foodhall, home & bargains, screwfix and others, but there is one MAJOR problem with it, there are absolutely NO cash machines there! What kind of idiot builds a retail park with no cash machines? Well that’s just what they’ve done, at least I can’t see any cash machines there, if there is any they must be well hidden. I suppose the developers just assume, and expect all the customers there to have fancy “smart” phones and fancy online pay accounts etc. which we don’t all have, and don’t all want either, and it’s been built too far away from the main bus routes, there is only a shuttle service which goes out there once an hour, and it stops too far away from the shops for some disabled folk. And I seriously prefer using cash in shops as in my experience with cash cards they’re far too unreliable, mine keeps getting arrogantly declined even though it’s is an accepted card and I’ve got plenty funds in my account, far more than I need for each transaction, so cash is a must, and it should be a legal requirement to provide cash machines at any new retail park as they’re a necessity.

I don’t know if writing to any papers is a good idea, whether they’re local or regional, or national, as in my experience they just totally arrogantly ignore whatever I try sending them, no matter what the subject and it’s the same with all manner of institutions, like the broadcasters, both the bbc and the others, and the county councils, and the mp’s etc. and even disability groups, even they always expect everyone to be fully successful and well educated and skilled etc. and be a born expert with all the latest tech. methods etc. despite all the disabilities, and if you’re anything like me, not up to their expected standards then they just don’t want to know, well shame on them! And there’s all too often far too ludicrously complex and far too long winded terms and privacy policies etc. and the papers are just the same, they expect us all to be so easily able to just casually and flippantly cruise through it all like it was nothing and find it all a total breeze. Well we can’t all be like that so things should be kept simple. Far too many institutions these days keep piling far too many appalling barriers in the way as if to keep anyone like me, far more severely disabled well and truly LOCKED OUT of having their say and therefore kept down and totally suppressed and hidden out of sight and totally denied any equality just like all those other poor souls who are kept in dreadful so-called “care” homes where they’re routinely brutally abused and totally denied any voice. Just look on you tube and type in extreme special needs to see what I mean.

First the banks persuaded companies to stop weekly cash wages to save cash movement. Then wages were changed to monthly, directly to banks. This reduced accountancy staff for banks and companies and computerised wages. workers had to manage their money monthly by using debit cards. This made it easy to introduce credit cards, now most people are in debt. All these moves and the removal of machines are bank driven, the people whose money they are using to make their profits have had no choice in these decisions. It’s time that they had.

Adrian says:
25 February 2022

We have a cashpoint but when goes down all the machines in the area go down and it is a four mile journey to another cash machine at a supermarket.

Jenny says:
10 March 2022

Losing the right to pay with cash is discriminatory and treats people who want to pay with cash as unequal citizens. I can’t believe the government have not acted to protect this right as a basic human right.
Why should people be denied this right as not everyone has the means to be cashless or wants cashless means of payment.

I must admit, Jenny, that the time has now come for the government to do more to protect the right to pay with cash. The government has so far pledged to protect the right of access to cash and has made a number of significant moves in that direction. Although there was criticism that it did not do enough soon enough, that is largely because the banks saw it coming and accelerated branch and ATM closures; to a large extent the Post Office has stepped in with basic banking services so that there is now a much bigger and more focused cash infrastructure than there was previously.

But having access to cash is not much use if shops refuse to take it. I think that state of affairs was inconceivable until the last couple of years, and I think the government should look into the reasons for that position because some of the reasons given appear spurious to me and just a matter of convenience.

I was astonished to discover recently that Boots do not accept cash in their shops. They have the largest branch network in the UK of any retailer, sell essential medical, sanitary and baby products, and have a strong presence in areas with elderly, poor and clinically dependent customers many of whom might not have, or be able to get, card payment facilities. People use the retailer because it has a good reputation and is highly trusted. I know of no evidence that handling cash transmits infections so long as sensible precautions are taken.

John – I tried to confirm that Boots are no longer accepting cash and found this page: https://www.boots.com/floating-editorial/cha-/live-floating/lets-shop-safe

Payment
Your choice of payment is down to your preference! You can purchase items using contactless payment; where there is a contactless limit of £45, debit card or cash.

I cannot see a link to it on their website, so it may be an orphaned page, and I’m surprised to see a reference to a contactless limit of £45. I would like to see confirmation that Boots shops are not accepting cash.

Since retailers can choose which forms of payment they will accept, the government must step in soon and I suggest that businesses providing ‘essential’ goods and services obliged to continue to accept cash. Clearly Boots would come into the ‘essential’ category.

Perhaps it’s time for Which? to do an investigation to find out which businesses are no longer accepting cash.

They must have heard me!

It was a couple of weeks ago that I saw a notice on their general on-line shopping page saying that they did not accept cash. It is no longer there so I expect they have now reverted to normal and the restriction was temporary during the Covid-19 epidemic.

I should have checked before I posted my previous comment.

That’s encouraging. If a shop selling ‘essential’ products did choose to refuse to accept cash, would that be regarded as discrimination against those who do not use cards, especially those who would not be allowed to have them?

This is one of those creeping problems that will slowly escalate unless there is some form of official intervention. If stores have become used to refusing cash payments, others will think it is OK to stop accepting cash and, before we know it, cash will become useless for shopping whatever the government’s pledges say. Now is the time to nip it in the bud.

Which? did report that some were having problems having cash accepted, as we have discussed elsewhere: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/09/one-in-five-people-blocked-from-paying-in-cash-since-lockdown-rules-eased/ It would be interesting to know the current situation.

Having more or less stopped using cash, I am less interested than I was, but feel that we should be fighting to ensure that cash remains acceptable as payment. I was surprised that there was no outcry when many retailers including supermarkets decided to refuse cheques.

I think the problem with cheque payments was when the cheque guarantee scheme ceased. Why would you accept a cheque from someone unknown?

I generally pay by card for convenience but occasionally use cash and have never been to a shop where it was not accepted.

We should survey which organisations no longer accept cash if we are to look at how big a problem this might be.

Chris says:
10 March 2022

I am disabled and have a memory problem so cant recall passwords or secure pin numbers. Life is already unbearable trying to look at websites etc, I have to get cash out for all my monthly needs and when you phone any company they keep you on the phone for ages because all the financial services companies want to save cost on office support. How dare we be told that we can only use cards. But even for people not in my predicament. HOW DARE ANYBODY be told that we cannot use legal tender. When is everyone going to wise up and realise that our civil rights are being eroded. E.G. Does everyone know that you now have to sign a form to tell your doctor that they CANNOT sell/give your medical history to third parties. Wo betide any girls out there that do not want companies to be sending them emails advertising sanitary products around their monthly cycle, or young men wanting to purchase condoms. We are China in sheeps clothing and unless the whole of this country realises this and fights against it, anyone from the age of 50 down will have their lives dramatically changed. I was born in the early 60’s and can see our freedoms eroding at an unbelievable pace. The youth unfortunately have been used to giving their personal details away but have no realisation it seems of the consequences. At my age I cannot do anything about it but those younger still have a chance, I HOPE . Don’t allow this to happen for your sakes. Even this rant leaves me exposed but its worth the risk as I have nephews and neices and I want them to live the free life that I led.

Crusader says:
10 March 2022

Hear , Hear! I too was born in the early 60’s and I’ve seen appalling changes for the worse, especially for those severely disabled like me with multiple life ruining disorders which are never recognised anywhere or by anyone with any status, either public or private. Our society is just becoming more and more ultra-EXclusive despite having now had 27 years of so-called “anti exclusion” legislation which is worthless as it’s openly flouted left, right and centre and no-one in authority, or the media, or even disability campaign groups EVER want to know. So I would like to encourage more and more disabled folk, especially those whose lives are utterly ruined by disabilities which go unrecognised but who are able to write and at least basically use a computer to get writing to their mp’s am’s, msp’s and mla’s etc. and DEMAND proper equality and not just accept the total sham that we have at the moment disguised as the so-called “equality” act, the very name of which is nothing but a total mockery as it doesn’t even begin to provide anything like real equality at all but only exclusion to the maximum. And if your representatives won’t listen and just ignore you then get down to their constituency offices and MAKE them listen, you have the right so use it. They only want to do away with cash so they can keep better watch on what we’re buying and where etc. And I certainly DON’T do “affairs”, even though over the years I’ve had various lasses who were obviously hitched trying to get one started with me, especially in supermarkets, but I just ignore them and if they persist then they get told to get stuffed elsewhere! And if anyone tries to watch what I buy they’ll most likely end up bored stiff as I certainly don’t waste my cash on condoms or porn, or booze or gambling or lotteries etc. it just goes on various dead boring essentials like food and bog rolls and razors and bleach etc. and various tools and materials to maintain and improve my home, as well as the usual household bills etc.

Susan Archer says:
12 March 2022

2 miles to my nearest cash point but it charges a fee, 8 miles to the nearest free one, that’s diesel used so actually no cheaper

Susan — To get a better idea of your situation, is that because nearer facilities have been removed in recent years? Is there a post office in your locality? If you have to make a special journey to get some cash, could you not combine it with a regular visit to a supermarket or filling station that has a cash point?

Jac says:
14 March 2022

Keeping cash is very important to stop the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.

We MUST not lose the ability to pay by cash . If it becomes a digital monetary system then we are at the full mercy of the government and their puppet masters . The new credit banking is what the government are already trying to push through . Look at the recent change to checking our card payments at shops , garages etc .
All is not as it seems . Wake up folks .

Here is a recent article about some food outlets either declining cash or refusing it: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/mar/12/cashs-reign-fades-as-covid-accelerates-high-street-switch-to-card-only For those who have no alternative to cash or simply want to continue to use it, perhaps it’s time for the government to give some clear information about its plans.

Cliff says:
15 March 2022

I prefer cash as I can see what I’m spending and if I can afford it and it feels good when I can afford it to spend it. I like my freedom too.

Although I completely understand the desire by many to continue using cash, there is a significant benefit to the Government for a cashless society in terms of taxation.

A cashless society means a record will exist for every transaction and for unscrupulous independent traders who may choose not to declare their earnings accurately, a cashless society will prove problematic when it comes to completing their tax returns.

Apart from that, there have been many examples given of where cash payments are, at the very least, convenient. Such as pocket money, sports fees, boot sales, lottery tickets, charity donations…….. While businesses that offer “discretionary” products can get away with requiring electronic payments, those offering essential purchases and services such as food retailers, transport, should always give the cash option.

I completely agree malcolm r, but from the Governments perspective I think it would suit them to see a cashless society.

There are certain trades or professions where cash payments are seen as the norm, such as barber shops, market traders and the ever growing serviced car washes and most of these traders have a ‘self-employed’ status and are responsible for declaring their earnings and submitting tax returns. But many of these professions do not provide the option for customers to pay by Card, accepting cash payments only. Given many contributors have expressed a preference to Card payments rather than cash, you would think these traders would be happy to accept both cash and Card payments, which could increase their customer base, increase customer spend and lead to business growth. Yet many traders continue to accept cash payment only and are reluctant to provide Card payment facilities.

I have seen no indication that the government are promoting a cashless society. I agree that collecting the correct taxes is easier if payments are recorded electronically. However, my role is not to do HMRC’s job for them but to pay as suits me at the time. I pay my cleaner in cash; she gives me a receipt. At the weekend, I paid a tree surgeon £70 to remove an overhanging tree from the front hedge; he was working two houses away so, on the spur of the moment, asked if he was interested and we negotiated a good price. He did not have a card terminal and I was not going to set up a one off online payment when I could pay from my wallet.

I am in favour of both cash and Card payments but thought it relevant to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of both.

There was no suggestion the Government are promoting a cashless society, just that it would be more beneficial to them if it headed in that direction.

I don’t think it’s any secret that a cash economy can facilitate tax evasion and that was the primary point I wanted to raise.

I agree with that.

There are many ways of avoiding, rather than evading, tax such as evidenced by the likes of Amazon and those wealthy enough to go offshore. I would like to see efforts directed more ffectively to see these major tax losses addressed.

Like Malcolm, I see it as no concern of mine how a self-employed trader accounts to the HMRC for their earnings and I will use whatever method suits me best, meaning that if there is a discount for cash I understand the implications of that — although it could just be that they are in need of ready money.

I also take the view that the more cash small traders take the more VAT they will pay in their personal expenditure and, although the 20% VAT rate might be lower than the 40% higher rate of income tax, it is likely that taking account of all the other reliefs and allowances there is probably not a huge difference in the realistic revenue accruing to the Exchequer. The small traders we occasionally employ are not exactly leading a luxury lifestyle and they tend to spend their money locally.