New research conducted by independent financial experts Enryo, with input from LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network, confirmed recently that most people in the UK still use cash, so a cashless society is a long way off. The study found that the vast majority of people in the UK (71%) have used cash in the past two weeks to pay for something and that a quarter of people (25%) do not anticipate that their use of cash will change anytime soon.

Commenting on the research, Volumatic’s sales and marketing director, Mike Severs, said: “Volumatic and Enryo have joined forces many times over the years and their research is always insightful and should be taken seriously. This latest report proves that cash is still a big part of our society and at a time when consumers have less money to spend and are having to be selective about where they spend their money, businesses should be doing all they can to help. By investing in cash handling equipment they can actually save money, be more efficient, keep their staff more secure and keep their customers happy – it’s a win-win.”

“Cash is not only alive and well but is gaining popularity across all demographics and age groups once more – and now both industry groups and consumers are fighting back to protect what is quite simply the most flexible and non-evasive payment method we currently have,” he added.

The cost-of-living crisis has prompted a resurgence in the use of cash, with the majority of households across the UK now tightening their belts in order to save money with one in 10 UK consumers intending to use cash more frequently to help them budget more effectively for as long as this crisis continues.

Access to cash is also a hotly debated topic of late, with the closure of many local banks and cash points around the UK but, despite this, and thanks to initiatives like the Post Office now providing cash to consumers to plug the gaps left behind by the bank closures, 69% of respondents said that they still find it easy to access cash for their day-to-day usage.

Barriers to cash use

The main barrier to spending cash still seems to be lying with businesses. The Enryo research found that nearly half (45%) of people in the UK have been somewhere that has not accepted, or has discouraged, the use of cash, and were inconvenienced by it – a statistic, added Severs, that needs to change urgently for the benefit of both businesses and consumers alike.

“The refusal of cash as a valid payment method began in the height of the pandemic back in 2020, when misinformation about cash posing a hygiene risk sparked concerns that it could help spread Covid. But three years later, long after the World Health Organisation confirmed that cash actually poses no greater threat than any other payment method in spreading any viruses, it seems that some businesses, particularly those in the leisure industry - concert venues, arenas, festivals etc - are still forcing consumers to go cashless,” he says.

This is despite the increasing appetite for the continued use of cash, particularly from the younger generation, plus rising fees from card issuers which have been uncapped since Brexit and are becoming untenable for the majority of smaller businesses.

Accepting cash

Some businesses feel that accepting cash offers few benefits to their business. But cash remains a vital cog in the UK economy and businesses risk alienating loyal customers who simply want the choice to use their hard-earned cash by refusing to accept it.

Severs added: “While cash provides every customer with an equal opportunity to purchase your products and services, the limitation of digital only payments instantly limits your customer base. This means that those customers without cards or mobiles; those without banking facilities or those who prefer to be cash-based will no longer be able to shop in your stores.

“By championing digital and card payments and eradicating the possibility of paying by cash, you may dramatically cut your customer base – leading to a potentially detrimental impact on your business. And at a time where all businesses are still trying to recover from the impact of the pandemic on the economy, it’s important to make sure you are able to cater for as many customers as possible and makes absolutely no sense to remain or champion being cashless.”

If retailers need to reduce the time spent manually counting till drawers, Volumatic’s Count-Easy range of money-counting scales can count a till drawer in less than a minute, giving staff more time to spend with customers. Retailers can also choose whether or not to have an integrated printer to keep track of counts and there is a touchscreen version available too.