Figures from consumer magazine Which? indicate that more than 2,500 cashpoints were lost in the six months to December 2018, and more than 3,000 bank branches have closed across the UK since 2015.
With the country’s cash infrastructure diminishing, Which? and the Federation of Small Businesses are today launching the joint Freedom to pay. Our way. campaign, calling for a regulator to be given explicit responsibility for protecting access to cash.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “The rapid pace of bank branch and cashpoint closures is hurting small businesses all over the UK.
“Millions of small firms have customers who want to pay using notes and coins. The vast majority of shoppers either use cash frequently or want to see access to it maintained.
“Bank branches and cashpoints create a natural draw for high streets and town centres. They give shoppers a reason to visit, meaning increased footfall and greater sales at surrounding small businesses as a result. When bank branches and cashpoints are lost, local growth often takes a hit.
“Going cashless should represent a genuine choice for small business owners. It shouldn’t be a move forced by lack of access to deposit and withdrawal facilities, disappearing ATMs or high cash handling fees.
“With our cash infrastructure increasingly under attack, it’s time for a regulator to be given explicit responsibility for protecting access to notes and coins. Otherwise we risk drifting into a cashless environment that we’re simply not ready for yet.”