Busting the Myth of the Standard Cash User

calendar iconFeb 18, 2022

When discussing cash versus cashless options, a common narrative is that only certain groups of people use physical money. In fact, a key benefit of cash is that it can be (and is) used by people of all ages and social situations, which makes defending payment choice important to everyone.

Speaking to Sky News, John Howells, Chief Executive of UK ATM network supplier LINK, highlighted the myth of ‘the standard cash user’ and the importance of recognising the diversity of people using it, from those who choose it occasionally through to those for whom it is an essential daily payment method.

It is a complete myth to say [cash users] are poor, or old, or vulnerable. Of course, that group is highly represented, but people right across the country rely on cash.
"John Howells, Chief Executive, LINK

Given the wide range of benefits offered by cash, it is unsurprising that people’s reasons for choosing it are varied. Benefits such as better budget control, immediacy and fewer security risks were recently named by personal finance advice site Investopedia and echoed by Forbes. Cash preference can also vary depending on geography, with people in big cities typically using less cash while those in more rural areas use it extensively.

In Britain, the latest figures from LINK show usage is lowest in the South East and South West while remaining very high in the North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The average withdrawal currently ranges from around £1,000 ($1,340/€1,200) in the South of England up to £2,000 in regions with higher cash use.

We need to protect cash because it’s used by a lot of people. Most consumers still use cash.
"John Howells, Chief Executive, LINK
Last Updated: Feb 17, 2022