Financial exclusion and social isolation could skyrocket if society pivots towards going completely cashless without planning ahead, a new report has concluded.
The Access to Cash Review’s first report found that eight million people still consider cash to be an economic necessity after reviewing evidence from 120 organisations across the business world.
And that leaves them at risk of financial exclusion if the UK pivots towards a completely cashless society, risking leaving rural communities cut off as well as rising social isolation, debt, exploitation and stigma against those who rely on notes and coins.
The Access to Cash Review shows the UK needs to plan ahead, not sleepwalk into a cashless society which leaves millions behind. Full report published today https://t.co/nKSbe5t8CTpic.twitter.com/tHeukvUb8d
— natalie ceeney (@natceeney) December 19, 2018
Cash use has halved in the past 10 years, warns the review, and is forecasted to halve again in a decade while in 15 years just one in ten payments could be in cash. Debit cards already overtook cash as the most popular payment method for the first time in 2017.
“The decline in the use of cash has been dramatic, and with rapid technology development and adoption this trend will continue,” said Natalie Ceeney, independent chair of the Access to Cash Review. “But for millions of people in the UK, cash is not a choice, it’s a necessity. If we don’t plan carefully for a world of lower cash, in other words, if we sleepwalk into a cashless society, millions of people will be left behind.”