According to the Access to Cash Review published in March 2019, ten years ago, six in ten transactions were made in cash. Today, that figure has halved to three in every ten transactions. Similarly, our infrastructure has step by step pivoted away from cash transactions so that even for those who may want or need to pay in cash, the option is too often no longer there.
LINK, the UK’s largest network of ATMs, reported in March 2019 that there are now 4,500 fewer ATMs in their network than at the peak in 2017. There is also a growing trend, especially in metropolitan areas, of retailers and service providers refusing to tender cash payments.
This is a steep decline, which is set to make life harder for millions of citizens who may not have a bank account or credit card or be hesitant to do so. New research estimates that 17% of British people would “not cope” in a cashless society. With this group disproportionately composed of the most vulnerable: the elderly, the disabled, and the poorest, an insufficient policy response is set to see these individuals and families become more financially excluded and alienated from society.