More than one person in three has been blocked from paying cash during the coronavirus crisis, according to Which?
About 34% of people reported that they were unable to pay cash at least once when trying to buy something since March 2020.
They were more likely to have been denied the option to pay cash when shopping for groceries, accounting for more than a quarter (28%) of incidents, according to a survey of more than 2,000 people in November.
Leisure activities such as going to a bar or restaurant (24%) and buying cleaning products (21%) followed.
Which? He said a particularly troubling incident reported to him involved a diabetic man who urgently needed food because his blood sugar levels had dropped, which could not be served in two restaurants that had run out of cash due to the coronavirus.
The man, who had stopped at a gas station after getting stuck in traffic, was finally able to pay cash at KFC.
Cashless Chicken Shops
The consumer group said one of the restaurants involved was a Nando’s.
Which? He said that when he contacted Nando’s they told him that they were accepting payments through their app, in accordance with security procedures, and that he “was sorry to learn that a customer was unable to dine with us because he only had cash.”
Which? I also heard of someone with their foot in a brace and a broken ankle who was on their way to see a GP but was unable to board a bus after trying to pay with a ticket.
One in 20 (5%) people surveyed for Which? They said they rely on cash and one in seven (13%) said they would fight without it.
Two-fifths (40%) see cash as essential backup.
How risky is cash?
Recent research by the Bank of England suggests that the risks of contracting the coronavirus from banknotes are low.
Which? He said that given the low level of risk, combined with the significant number of people still dependent on cash, it is encouraging stores to continue accepting.
The consumer group is working with retailers to develop an initiative to protect consumers who want or need to continue shopping with cash.
It also requests that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) be responsible for tracking the number of UK companies accepting cash and assessing the rate at which this is changing.
Jenny Ross, which one? Money editor said: “We have repeatedly warned about the consequences of the coronavirus on what was already a fragile cash system, but the government or regulator has not taken sufficient action to understand the scale of this problem.
“The government, which has yet to enact legislation to protect the cash it promised almost a year ago, must urgently hold the FCA accountable for tracking cash acceptance levels. Failure to do so will cause the cash network to collapse, leaving millions of people stranded. «
John Howells, CEO of ATM Network Link, said: “We agree with the call of Which? For even faster progress on the government’s commitment to legislating to protect cash. It is clear that acceptance and access must be addressed as well.
“Cash use will have been cut in half by the end of 2021 compared to the start of the pandemic (according to Link’s forecasts) and the infrastructure needs to be reformed if it is to cope with that kind of major decline in a way that do not harm consumers’.
Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the Access to Cash Review, said: “The numbers show that this is not just a weird coffee shop running out of cash, but this is seeping into the wider economy.”
She added: “And we can’t just blame individual companies, many are running out of cash because they cannot easily bank because their local branch is closed or some distance away. The government urgently needs to legislate to protect the viability of cash – as it promised to do last year. Time is running out “.
NoteMachine CEO Peter McNamara said: “By refusing to accept cash for basic needs, stores actively discriminate against a large part of society, many of whom may not have access to contactless payments at all.
“We must also realize that it is not just the elderly and the vulnerable who want to pay cash regularly; it has always been vital to local economic activity.
‘In fact, our analysis shows that 43 million consumers, the majority of the UK adult population, were using the LINK network’s pre-lock to withdraw cash each month, and we’ve seen the numbers start to climb back to this figure when restrictions apply. gotten up.
“This elastic demand shows that it is still vital that everyone has the freedom to choose how they want to pay and that access to free-use ATMs is protected.”