A report published by the Access to Cash Review has revealed that, without action from the government, more than eight million individuals in the UK would ‘struggle to cope in a cashless society’.
According to the report, without action from regulators and banks, cash is ‘at risk of disappearing’. In 2017, debit card and contactless payments were found to be more popular than paying with coins and notes.
Within the report, convenience is cited as being the biggest advantage of using a digital wallet. However, there are still many people who need to use cash, such as those living in remote or rural areas.
Commenting on the findings, Natalie Ceeney, Chair of the Access to Cash Review, said: ‘There are worrying signs that our cash system is falling apart. ATM and bank branch closures are just the tip of the iceberg – underneath there is a huge infrastructure which is becoming increasingly unviable as cash use declines.’
The report describes in detail five ‘actionable recommendations as to how Britain can plan for a world with fewer cash transactions’. It calls for the government, banks and regulators to guarantee consumer access to cash; take steps to keep cash accepted; radically overhaul the wholesale cash infrastructure; and make digital inclusion in payments a priority.
The report also urges the government to outline a ‘clear policy on cash’, supported by a regulatory approach which ‘treats cash as a system’.