Research commissioned by cash machine/ATM operator Link suggests that cash could disappear by 2026 if the Government and Regulators do not take action to protect its existence as well as protecting those that are vulnerable to a cashless society e.g. older people, people on a budget or even homeless people who rely on donations.
The report called “Access to Cash Review” suggests customers should still have the facility to pay council tax and utility bills by cash. Making sure more local and rural shops can offer cashback and offering smaller businesses secure lockers or smart ATM’s to deposit cash saving them trips to a bank/building society branch many miles away.
The use of contactless and debit card payments has risen so much that the volume of cash transactions fell behind for the first time since records began. Cash is still the main payment solution used by over 8 million people and needs to be available, especially in rural communities, that have no or poor internet access and for people with physical or mental health problems that find it difficult to use digital services. What if you are a small business in a little village with poor mobile signal and internet connection? How will they cope with card only transactions that they cannot verify due to poor signal?
The report also suggests a governing body should be in place funded by banks that can help local communities should they run short of access to cash from ATM’s and shops.
The Bank of England Sarah John, chief cashier said, “We will work together with others in the industry and discuss putting systems into place to ensure people will still have access to cash”.
Consumer group Which? has suggested that a regulator should be established to oversee cash access and maintain the use of cash for the UK.
Banks need to work together to ensure cash will still be easily accessible in local shops, Post Offices and ATMs to provide cashback and develop greater mobile bank options in small town rural communities. We still do not understand why banking groups would close say half a dozen banks on a high street, when a communal bank with either a desk for each bank or a combined operating system (they have it now with fast payments and the clearing system, could not be managed with the costs shared by all banks. A communal bank hub in every town and village would serve all well. After all, they do have custody of your money and they are investing it/lending it out to others for profit.