UK cash usage halves after coronavirus measures come into force
Cash usage in the UK has halved in the last few days after coronavirus social distancing and ‘lock down’ measures were implemented this week, according to Link, the UK’s biggest ATM operator.
The closure of shops, alongside a shift to contactless payments to avoid unnecessary contact plus concerns over bacteria on notes has contributed to the decline.
Link has said the ATM system was operating at its normal standard and that it was working closely with banks and regulators to ensure cash continued to be available.
Link said that ATM transactions and cash use has fallen by around 50% over the last few days and the company said it expected this to continue as people follow the government’s instructions.
Some shops across the country as refusing to accept cash during the pandemic, asking that customers pay by card only, The Guardian reports.
Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “We are concerned this will leave many vulnerable people unable to pay for the basics they need.
“Both the government and retailers need to find a way to ensure that the millions of people who rely on cash, and may not have a bank card, can still pay for essentials during this difficult time.”
It was announced earlier this week that the limit for contactless payments would rise to £45 to account for the change in preferred payment method.
UK Finance, which represents the big banks, said: “Given the pace at which this change is being rolled out, the new limits will take some time to be introduced across all retailers, including some of those facing additional pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
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