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More people ‘could turn to cash to manage squeezed finances’

·2-min read

Just over half of regular cash users say it helps them to keep track of their spending, according to Which?

Some 54% of people surveyed for the consumer group regularly use cash, mostly alongside other payment methods.

Of those who regularly use cash, 52% said it helps them track their spending.

More than a third (34%) of people whose annual income was lower than £20,000 found cash, on its own or alongside other payment methods, easiest to budget with, as did a quarter (24%) of people earning between £40,001 and £60,000.

Many household bills increased in April, squeezing household budgets tighter.

As people try to manage on tighter budgets, communities are seeing their access to cash dwindle, Which? said, with 4,685 bank branches closing since 2015, and 12,178 free-to-use ATMs vanishing since 2018.

The UK Government has said it will legislate to protect the future of cash.

Industry initiatives have also been taking place to help maintain access to cash, such as cashback in shops and banking hubs where facilities are shared.

When asked about the future, 58% told the Which? survey of 4,000 people that they will need to start budgeting if the cost of living increases.

A fifth (20%) of people who do not use cash regularly said they would start using cash if the cost-of-living crisis worsens.

Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said: “Our research shows that cash remains vital for many on a tight budget, and many more people could well turn to it to manage their finances as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

“However, the UK’s cash system has taken a battering as thousands of bank branches and ATMs have closed in recent years, leaving those who rely on cash and face-to-face banking services at risk of being cut adrift.

“That’s why it is crucial that the Government finally makes good on its promise to legislate to protect cash in next week’s Queen’s Speech.”

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