Brits Call for Stronger Cash Rights

Jul 28, 2023


97 percent of Brits still withdraw cash for transactions according to new research from YouGov, with many calling for regulation to prevent bank closures from further eroding its availability.

Writing for This is Money, journalist Toby Walne reports some 5,000 bank branches have disappeared from villages, towns and cities across the UK over the past eight years, with more scheduled to close. Additionally, over 15,000 ATMs have been lost within just five years.

While banks point to changes in payment behaviour and say there is no longer demand for physical services, market research YouGov found that just three percent of UK adults never use banknotes or coins to make payments. 71 percent of respondents were in favour of ‘tough rules to stop banks from fleeing the High Street’.

Cash Access UK—a shared banking initiative operated by major British banks and building societies—was established to help fill the gap left by bank closures in communities now lacking access to cash. However, Walne says, ‘despite a recommendation that 100 banking hubs should open, only five have so far seen the light of day.’

This year, two online petitions calling for laws requiring businesses to accept cash reached the 10,000 signature threshold required for a Government response (with one closing at 33,498 signatures and the other at 25,020). The Government replied to say it ‘does not intend to mandate cash acceptance.’ The Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022–23, which is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords, does include some provisions designed to protect access to cash. The full extent and implementation of these remains to be seen.

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2023