The BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for its 45 independent national consumer organisations in Brussels and defends the interests of European consumers. BEUC investigates EU decisions and developments likely to affect consumers, with a special focus on five areas identified as priorities by its members: Financial Services, Food, Digital Rights, Consumer Rights & Enforcement and Sustainability.
Consumers should have a right to choose how they pay
The paperSee Banknote paper. More issues four strong recommendations to ensure access to and acceptance of cashMoney in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More.
- All physical traders are obliged to accept payments in cash and make it the EU legal tenderMoney that is legally valid for the payment of debts and must be accepted for that purpose when offered. Each jurisdiction determines what is legal tender, but essentially it is anything which when offered (“tendered”) in payment of a debt extinguishes the debt. There is no obligation on the creditor to accept the tendered payment, but the act of tendering the payment in legal tender discharges the debt. More. Cash is the only means of paymentA transfer of funds which discharges an obligation on the part of a payer vis-à-vis a payee. More protecting privacy and ensuring social inclusion. This general rule should be adapted to the various situations, for example, when the value of the banknoteA banknote (or ‘bill’ as it is often referred to in the US) is a type of negotiable promissory note, issued by a bank or other licensed authority, payable to the bearer on demand. More is disproportionate to the value of the purchase.
- Consumer access to cash is free of charge, at least when using the ATM network of their bank. Plus, consumers should have the right to make several free of charge withdrawals per month at other ATMs. Countries where ATM fees are currently prohibited should maintain the prohibition.
- There is a minimum availability and balanced geographical distribution of ATMs within each Member State across the EU.
- ‘Cash withdrawals in shops’ are promoted, as a complementary option to the use of ATMs.
The card schemes are the main beneficiaries of the society without cash
The paper also raises the question who benefits from a cashless world. It concludes: “The card schemes are the main beneficiaries of the society without cash. They are at the origin of this movement. In some countries, they even create pseudo consumer associations for the promotion of cashless society.”
BEUC is far from the first consumer association to speak out in favour of cash. In Sweden, Sveriges Konsumenter published a study showing that 7 out of 10 consumers want to be able to pay by cash in the future. In Spain, Facua Consumidores en Acción is attacking a sunglasses retailer for refusing to accept cash, arguing that this practice goes against the Spanish civil code and local laws. In the UK, Which? has been petitioning for access to cash.
Download the full report below.
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