As we move towards an increasingly digital society, we want to make sure that nobody gets left behind. That’s why today we launched the new ‘Protect the way we pay’ campaign.
More people may be paying online and by card nowadays, but having free access to cash is still a necessity for more than 25 million people across the country. It also provides a vital back-up for us all when digital payment systems fail.
This isn’t just an issue for older people or those living in rural communities. People across all parts of our society depend on cash, from small business owners, to people living on tight budgets, to communities struggling with poor connectivity. In fact, our research found that 73% of people use cash at least two or three times a week, including 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
We want the government to take urgent action and give a single regulator a duty to protect access to cash for as long as people continue to need it. This means that even when more people move online, no one is completely excluded.
We also want to ensure that no one is stripped of access in the short term and are calling on the Payment Systems Regulator to review the Financial Inclusion Programme for cashpoints.
We know the way people are paying for goods and services is changing, but given how important cash remains to some, it’s clear that it’s far from dead, and won’t be for a long time yet.
Jenni Allen, Managing Director, Which? Money, said:
“We have serious concerns that the alarming rate of cashpoint and bank branch closures risks leaving people facing an uphill battle to access the cash they rely on.
“Cash is also a vital backup as fallible digital payments grow in popularity – so the Government must appoint a regulator to oversee these changes and ensure no-one is excluded and left struggling to go about their daily lives.”