Commenting on the findings of the Which? cash acceptance tool, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said: 

“These findings from Which? are extremely concerning, and suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic may have sparked an acceleration towards cashlessness in the UK.  

“It can be easy to forget how many people would be left behind in a ‘cashless society’. The UK Treasury has estimated that 2.2 million people in the UK are reliant on cash, with older people, people with a disability, people on low incomes, and those living in rural areas most likely to fall in this group. 

“People tell us they use cash for a variety of reasons, some find it easier to budget with, others live in areas with weak internet signal making card payments harder. So it’s essential that cash remains an option. Earlier in the pandemic, Independent Age heard from many people in later life who were self-isolating and struggling to access cash to reimburse friends and family for food and medication shopping. 

“Without widespread access to cash, and the ability to use it, there is a risk that people in later life will become more isolated from society as cases of COVID-19 – and associated restrictions – increase across the country. 

“We support the government’s proposal for the Financial Conduct Authority to oversee the protection of cash access in the UK, so that this problem can be properly addressed.” 

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