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Road map to protect future of cash must be set out urgently, says Which?

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·2-min read

A road map with a vision for protecting future access to cash urgently needs to be set out, according to Which?

The consumer group warned that irreversible damage could be done to the UK’s cash infrastructure if a road map is not set out as soon as possible.

Which? recently wrote to banks, asking them to guarantee continued membership of schemes managed by ATM operator Link and the Post Office, which are critical to helping people to access cash.

Which? said there was general agreement that both Link and the Post Office have a crucial role to play.

But it said the Government has yet to set out its vision for the future of cash, including the scope and timing of legislation to protect access.

The Government announced last year that it would legislate to protect access to cash for those who need it and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term.

Which? claimed that if even one bank withdraws support from either Link or the Post Office, widespread cash access will no longer be viable.

The coronavirus pandemic has piled further pressure on the UK’s cash infrastructure, the consumer group said, with a sharp decline in businesses accepting cash and the closure of thousands of ATMs and bank branches over the past 12 months.

Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which?, said: “It’s reassuring that all the major banks have reiterated their commitment to protecting cash for these customers, but without a clear indication of when legislation will be introduced, there remains significant uncertainty for what this might mean in the not-too-distant future.

“The Government must set out a road map for legislation at the earliest opportunity, to ensure that cash remains a viable payment method for as long as it is needed.”