The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), a London-based organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges, partnered with Link, the UK’s largest ATM network, to produce a report on access to Money in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More in the United Kingdom. The study builds on the 2019 Access to Cash Review, led by Natalie Ceeney, and concludes that people’s relationship with cash involves “complex emotional and societal dynamics”.
The report identifies five distinct segments of roughly similar sizes based on a nationwide survey on attitudes and behaviours toward cash and digital payments:
The census provides detailed statistics on the status of cash in the UK. Although cash withdrawals declined during the pandemic, 96% of respondents still withdraw cash at some frequency, 23% at least once a week and 66% at least once a month. Eight million people (15% of the population) used more cash during the pandemic. Cash is still necessary and remains the second most popular A transfer of funds which discharges an obligation on the part of a payer vis-à-vis a payee. More accounting for 17% of all payments in 2020.
It would be problematic for almost half the population (48% or 25 million people) if there were no cash. One in 5 people (19% of the population or 10 million people) say they would struggle to cope in a society without cash. Almost a third of the population (29% or 15 million people) say they could manage, but it would be a significant inconvenience. Two-thirds of the population (64 per Fraction of a currency representing the hundredth of the unit of account. More) are concerned about fraud when making digital payments.
The RSA formulates three policy recommendations:
With the pandemic negatively impacting the volume of cash withdrawals and transactions, it becomes even more critical for the government to protect access to cash through legislation to ensure people can access cash. Those wishing to pay by cash should be able to do so, particularly for essential government services. However, the RSA does not call for mandatory acceptance of cash by all retailers. The report stresses the importance of innovation and industry-wide collaboration – illustrated by new solutions such as shared banking hubs or purchase-free A service whereby the customer pays electronically a higher amount to a retailer than the value of the purchase for goods and/or services and receives the difference in cash. It is also a reward system associated with credit card usage, whereby the consumer receives a percentage of the amount spent on the credit card. More – to ensure the future viability of the Represents the various stages of the lifecycle of cash, from issuance by the central bank, circulation in the economy, to destruction by the central bank. More.
Finally, the report emphasises that the disappearance of cash would have significant societal implications:
While more people are using online payments and banking, three years on from the Access to Cash Review in 2019, the population share that would feel left behind in a cashless society, remains almost identical.
Forcing people on to digital could lead to a loss of control over finances and spiralling debts.
Rural communities and vulnerable citizens could become unable to access cash.
A cashless society could lead to increased isolation and reduced human connection.
A cashless society could lead to mistrust in the payments system due to concerns over fraud, cybercrime, and technology system failures.