Britain Against a Cashless Society

calendar iconMay 10, 2021


Against a backdrop of high streets pushing cashless payments and an imminent doubling of the contactless card payment limit, the vast majority of Brits want to retain cash as a payment option, according to a recent survey.

The research—conducted by behavioural research company Simple Usability—found 78 percent of people opposed the loss of cash as a payment choice. With two million people reliant upon cash for their everyday expenses, and around one million lacking bank accounts, Simple Usability’s report urges the UK to be mindful of those who would face financial and social exclusion in a cashless nation.

While 66 percent of people reported visiting their bank less often, and 51 percent said they had found alternate ways to facilitate necessary transactions during the pandemic, most feel cash remains the essential payment option it has always been.

In an age of unprecedented cybercrime, the anonymity and security offered by cash make it a highly desirable option for everyone when deciding how to make a particular payment. There is an appealing convenience and immediacy to cash, not to mention the benefits it offers those needing to carefully manage their household budget. People choose physical money for a wide variety of reasons, making it an irreplaceable part of the payments landscape.

Critically, there are also those for whom cash is not a choice, but an essential. From individuals with a poor credit history to the unemployed and homeless, there are many for whom opening and managing bank accounts is either a serious challenge or an absolute impossibility.

Finally, cash also offers a more personal way of transacting, whether putting banknotes in a birthday card or handing them over to someone who has performed a valuable service.

While the shift to a digital-first solution shows little sign of abating, those financial institutions which want to do away with brick-and-mortar sites should exercise caution, as people still value a human-to-human interaction.
"Judith Doherty, Account DirectorSimple Usability
Last Updated: May 9, 2021