Consumer Group Which? Urges Chancellor to Protect Access to Cash

ACS has welcomed calls from consumer group Which? to ensure that cash is accessible and accepted as payment for essential goods and services.

Research released today (September 18th) by Which? shows that one in 10 free to use cash machines has either closed or started charging a fee over the past 17 months, with the most deprived areas losing access to cash from ATMs at a faster rate.

The consumer group suggests that people are more likely to rely on cash day-to-day, so when they have to pay to access that cash on a frequent basis they are more adversely affected. As a result, Which? have called on Chancellor Sajid Javid to introduce a ‘minimum service guarantee’ for access to cash.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Millions of consumers still rely on cash every day, especially in isolated and deprived areas. Convenience stores are keen to provide free access to cash to customers as it is an essential service that benefits other local businesses and the wider community, but LINK’s decision to cut interchange fees has meant that many have now been left with pay to use machines.

“We will continue to urge the Payments Systems Regulator to intervene to ensure that free access to cash is available to all communities in the UK, as well as calling on the Government to take free to use ATMs out of the business rates system altogether to ease the cost pressures of operating a machine.”

Earlier this year, the Access to Cash Review found that UK consumers are still a long way away from accepting a cashless society as millions of people still rely on cash on a daily basis. The review found that 17% of the UK population (8 million adults) would struggle to cope in a cashless society, while 97% of the population still carry cash on them.

Figures from the 2019 Local Shop Report show that 46% of convenience stores have a free to use cash machine, with 18% having a pay to use machine. 62% of convenience stores provide cash back, and 100% of stores surveyed for the report accepted cash as a method of payment.

The full release from Which? is available here:  

This entry was posted by Chris on Wed, 18/09/2019 - 09:35