The country appears to be rushing towards a society without cash, with contactless payments used rather than banknotes and coins. According to an article in the Mail on Sunday some 55 bank branches a month have been closed over the past six years, while as many as 8700 free ATMs have been removed in the past three years. Natalie Ceeney, former boss of the Financial Ombudsman Service and author of the 2019 report on access to cash, estimates that as many as eight million people in Britain rely on cash for their day-to-day needs, and with communities struggling without banks and where free cash machines have disappeared, this is becoming a serious issue for the Government. A click and collect app provided by Swiss company Sonect has recently been trialled in the Staffordshire town of Burslem but can it be a solution or a replacement for local banking services?
The UK Government appear to be dragging its feet on this issue, with Rishi Sunak promising legislation to ensure cash remains a viable payment option on the high street 14 months ago, but no proposals have been forthcoming. Our opinion is that the Government is quite happy to see the reliance on cash lessen, meaning it can control more effectively the black economy (ONS estimates £10billion in 2019).