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‘Cashless Britain’ creating complications for customers

Written by: Emma Lunn
One-in-five people have been inconvenienced by inability to pay in cash, according to Link.

Research by the UK’s cash access and ATM network shows that nearly half (45%) of people have been somewhere that has not accepted, or has discouraged the use of cash over the past eight weeks. One in five (20%) of those impacted said this was fairly or very inconvenient.

The most frequent locations where people are been unable to pay in cash are in a restaurant (12%), in a café (12%) and paying for parking (11%).

London came out top as the region in the UK where non-acceptance was highest with 58% of people responding they had been discouraged or told the location did not accept cash. This was followed by the Southeast and Wales (both 49%). The lowest was in Northern Ireland at 29%.

Graham Mott, Link director of strategy, said: “We’ve seen a few stories in national media of late highlighting the issues of parking with customers not even able to use their cards, let alone cash. There’s been a broader trend with more shops and councils either becoming cashless or asking their customers to pay with card instead. We know many people are comfortable paying with cards or online, but there are still millions of people who don’t use technology and where this is problematic.”

Back to basics savings techniques

Over the past three years, Link has regularly conducted research to understand people’s attitude towards cash use through the pandemic and now into the cost-of-living crisis.

When asked how people use cash to manage their finances, a fifth (20%) said they put spare change in jars or piggy banks. Saving in piggy banks and jars is most popular in Wales (32%), Scotland (30%) and Northern Ireland (25%).

There’s also evidence of people using cash to manage discretionary spending including going to bars and pubs (13%) and non-essentials (13%). The recent social media trend of putting money in specific envelopes was used by 8% of those questioned.

Mott added: “It’s also interesting to see cash used for saving and that some people are going back to basics when managing their money, using cash to budget, saving loose change in coin jars and writing all their outgoings in one place.”

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