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Retailers sign up to Which? cash acceptance pledge

Written by: Emma Lunn
Retailers including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, John Lewis, Lloyds Pharmacy, and Waitrose have vowed to continue to accept cash payments.

Thousands of shops and supermarkets have signed up to Which?’s cash-friendly pledge, an initiative designed to ensure that millions of consumers who rely on cash are not excluded by the transition to digital payments.

The Which? scheme has been backed by leading retail associations that represent tens of thousands of shops across the country.

The British Retail Consortium, the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Independent Retailers Association are all encouraging their members to sign up. The Federation of Small Businesses is also promoting the scheme to members that want to maintain access to cash for their customers.

Which? is inviting all retailers to sign the pledge to continue to accept cash. It has been launched in response to concerns that cash is becoming increasingly difficult to spend as businesses turn to digital payments.

A massive shift towards online shopping over the past year and scare stories about the safety of cash handling during the pandemic prompting some businesses to go completely cashless have led to a huge drop in cash usage.

Which? research found that 34% of consumers reported being unable to pay with cash at least once when trying to buy something since coronavirus restrictions were first introduced

Now that restrictions are gradually lifting, Which? wants to ensure that the 10 million consumers who are not ready or able to give up cash are not left in a position where they can’t pay with notes and coins as a result of businesses permanently refusing cash.

The Bank of England supports the introduction of the pledge. Its chief cashier Sarah John said the ability to use cash remains vitally important for many people, and by signing up “businesses are helping to ensure that everyone in the UK is able to use the form of payment that best meets their needs”.

Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which? said: “Our cash-friendly pledge will reassure consumers who rely on cash that they won’t be left behind as we make the transition to digital payments.

“We’re asking retailers to sign up to the pledge because the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the decline of cash usage – threatening the whole infrastructure that ensures millions of people who aren’t yet ready to make the switch to digital payments can access and spend their own money.

“The government announced it would legislate to protect access to cash more than a year ago. Now it must set out when this will be introduced and explain its long-term plan to protect cash for as long as people need it.”

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