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European Consumer Association says consumers need a right to use cash

Categories : Cash is a public good, Cash is the most widely used payment instrument
September 30, 2019
Published in : acceptance, Access to cash, ATM, Consumers, Europe
The European Consumer Association BEUC has published a position paper ‘Cash versus Cashless: Consumers need a right to use cash. The paper makes recommendations for EU level actions to ensure that consumers have a non-discriminatory right to access and use cash.
Guillaume Lepecq

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 paper issues four strong recommendations to ensure access to and acceptance of cash.

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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