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    ‘Most Brits still rely on cash’

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    Almost half (48 per cent) of individuals anticipate a cashless society within their lifetime, according to a recent survey.

    One in six (15 per cent) respondents admitted they never carry cash, a figure that has tripled from the 4 per cent reported in 2019. Despite this, seven out of ten (71 per cent) people surveyed still rely on cash daily, stating they had used it in the past fortnight.

    Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents expressed concerns about a cashless society, The Mirror reported. In 2023, legislation was enacted under the Financial Services and Markets Act to safeguard access to cash.

    Consumer group Which? revealed that the number of UK bank branches closing in the past nine years hit the 6,000-mark last Friday. Various initiatives are underway to fill the gaps in the cash access network caused by bank branch closures.

    The Post Office recently announced that cash transactions at its branches hit a record £3.48 billion in April, due to agreements with numerous banks that allow their customers to conduct everyday banking over its counters.

    John Howells, chief executive of Link, said, “Although the UK is on the way to becoming a low cash country, we now have legislation that will help Link maintain a national network of free ATMs and banking hubs and this will ensure that anyone needing to access cash can do so.

    “But it’s no use having cash if the best goods and services are only available online and this is becoming a real problem for millions of cash-reliant consumers. The focus now needs to be on access to digital.”

    Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Access to Cash Review, said, “Despite a massive growth in digital payments over the past five years, there are still millions of people who depend on cash, and half of the UK population concerned about the prospect of a cashless society.”

    “People need cash for a wide range of reasons, and the barriers to using digital payments are very real. We are certainly not ready to become a cashless society.”

    The Mirror quoted Lord Holmes of Richmond, vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on FinTech, as saying, “We are clearly heading towards a digital future and while some of the benefits will be transformational to society and the economy, there is a clear and present risk that we are moving forward without a clear plan to bring everyone on that journey.”

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