Some UK banks now more cash friendly?

As we shift seemingly relentlessly toward a cashless society, some cash-reliant businesses and consumers who have struggled to access cash have a reason to smile. Several top banks and building societies in the UK are now unifying behind a commitment to ‘protect access to cash’. Here’s the lowdown.

What has been happening to cash?

The UK has been moving towards a cashless society for some time now. ATM usage, for example, has been declining at a rate of about 6% to 10% a year.

Covid-19 has supercharged this transition. During the first lockdown, concerns about virus transmission resulted in many people doing most of their shopping online or turning to cashless and contactless payment methods. As a result, cash withdrawals from ATMs fell by 60% compared to the previous year.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), cash withdrawals were down 40% year on year in 2020.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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