Responding to new research from Which?, revealing that seven million consumers have been left unable to use payment cards due to system failures over the last year, Federation of Small Businesses Policy and Advocacy Chairman Martin McTague said: “Cash remains a vital back-up for when payment card systems fail.
“We have to avoid moments where shoppers are left in the lurch due to glitches: unable to use digital payment methods and lacking access to a cash point or bank branch.
“Action is needed on two fronts. First off, we have to improve the resilience and reach of our digital payments infrastructure in the UK – that includes country-wide access to reliable broadband. Second, we need to maintain our cash infrastructure for as long as people want and need it.
“There’s also the cost factor to consider. Processing card payments can be expensive for small firms. We need to see regulators and terminal providers collaborating to bring these fees down for the good of our economy.
“Two million consumers still rely entirely on cash for day-to-day purchases. It’s vital that no-one is left behind as we increasingly move to a digital-first shopping environment. Currently, there’s a feeling that we’re cutting too far too fast when it comes to bank branches and ATMs.
“We look forward to working with the new Treasury-led strategy group on how we can maintain a cash network that is relevant, adaptable and commercially viable.”