Lockdown Britain: One in five say they have been blocked from using cash since lockdowns ended 


Has Covid accelerated the death of cash? One in five Britons say they have been blocked from using notes and coins since lockdowns ended

  • Many firms asked customers to use cards and mobile apps during pandemic
  • Companies said avoiding handling notes and coins would limit spread of Covid
  • Survey found 20 per cent unable to pay with cash at least once from April to July 

The ban on cash introduced by firms during the pandemic is continuing, with one in five people saying they have been blocked from using it since lockdowns ended.

Many firms asked customers to use cards and mobile apps at the height of the crisis, saying that avoiding handling notes and coins would limit the spread of Covid. 

But the move has fuelled fears that it will hasten the death of cash.

Many firms asked customers to use cards and mobile apps at the height of the crisis, saying that avoiding handling notes and coins would limit the spread of Covid (file image)

A survey of 1,000 people analysed by the consumer group Which? found around 20 per cent were unable to pay with cash at least once from April to July. 

A separate poll found customers were most likely to be unable to use cash when shopping for groceries.

Which? said 84 per cent of people believe businesses and shops should continue to accept notes and coins.

It is encouraging firms to sign up to its Cash Friendly initiative to ensure millions of consumers who use cash regularly are not excluded by the transition to digital payments.

Natalie Ceeney, of the Access to Cash Action Group, described the survey’s findings as ‘really worrying’.

Which? said 84 per cent of people believe businesses and shops should continue to accept notes and coins (file image)

Which? said 84 per cent of people believe businesses and shops should continue to accept notes and coins (file image)

She said: ‘Not everyone is able to use digital and contactless payments. What happens if people can’t buy food or medicine?

‘We’ve all focused on the issues about getting cash – but the issues about being able to pay with cash are just as important.

‘Small businesses are the lifeblood of many communities, but to keep accepting cash they need to be able to deposit their takings easily, something which has got harder and harder as bank branches have closed.’

There is no legal obligation for firms to accept cash and it is up owners which payment methods they want to accept.

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