A report by UK Finance has suggested that fewer than one in ten purchases will involve cash by the year 2028. The rise of contactless payments means many consumers no longer carry notes and coins and only 4% mainly use cash. The report also found that 6,240 cash machines were removed during 2018, taking the total down to 63,360.

The rise of contactless payments means many consumers no longer carry notes and coins and only 4% mainly use cash. The report said that the rise in use of cards, while bringing some administrative and security benefits,  adds an additional cost to the retail industry that is already operating on very low margins.

UK Finance says it will continue to work closely with HM Treasury, Bank of England, regulators, Natalie Ceeney CBE, consumer groups and the UK Finance Consumer Advisory Group as work is progressed on access to cash. It has become increasingly clear that solutions to the access to cash challenge will be found through collaboration beyond the banking and finance industry.

The challenges and opportunities faced in securing appropriate access to cash and payment services for consumers are shared by the whole of society. UK Finance is therefore calling for partners across industries, including telecommunications and ‘Big-Tech’ companies, retailers and payment innovators, to engage on the solutions.

Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said “The banking and finance industry is committed to ensuring access to cash remains free and widely accessible for those that continue to need it. Yet there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and only via collaboration across government, regulators, industry, customer groups and communities can this be achieved. Understanding the needs of local communities is critical and the new Community Access to Cash Initiative will help identify the most appropriate access to cash and payment service solutions. Local cash recycling will play a pivotal role in the sustainability of the system, although we can’t achieve a resilient and sustainable cash landscape on our own. It is vital we are supported by other sectors such as telecoms, retailers and infrastructure providers to assure widespread provision.”

City minister, John Glen, said “Technology is transforming how we manage our money, but with 11 billion payments made in cash last year we know that access remains a critical issue for many. Today’s announcement shows the industry stepping up to the plate to ensure access to cash for people who need it, while also helping them to take advantage of the digital innovations that are giving so many of us greater control over our finances.”