Cash a crucial part of payments mix

30th March 2022

Around ten million people, or one in five adults, would struggle to manage in a society without cash, according to a report from the Royal Society of Arts commissioned by cash machine network Link.

The research found that almost half of people believe going cashless would be problematic, and while three in ten think they would cope, it would be a major inconvenience. Banks have committed to supporting access to cash, including an independent assessment of local needs whenever a branch is shut. This could recommend the opening of a shared branch, a new ATM or a Post Office upgraded.

Responding to the analysis Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Martin McTague, who sits on the Community Access to Cash Pilots board, said “One in four small high street businesses say cash is still the most popular payment method among customers.  The pandemic has accelerated the move to contactless, but notes and coins remain important to the daily lives of millions. ”

“This new report rightly suggests a combination of innovation in the free access to cash space and investment in digital capability as the way forward. Through our Access to Cash Pilots, we’re increasingly identifying shared banking hubs alongside enhanced connectivity as integral to financial inclusion and increased productivity over the years ahead. ”

“Cashback without purchase holds a lot of promise too, provided the incentives in place for small firms that take on the admin, cost and risk of providing it are sufficient.”

“By protecting access to cash infrastructure for as long as people want and need it, whilst increasing connectivity and keeping contactless card charges down for small firms, we can create a diverse payments market which is both inclusive as well as resilient when online systems fail.”