More than a third of shoppers have been blocked from paying with cash since the start of the Covid crisis, prompting calls for urgent action to protect the millions who rely on the UK’s “critically endangered” cash network.
The consumer group Which? said mixed messages about the safety of cash was partly to blame. The Bank of England has since clarified that “any risk from handling cash should be low”, especially when compared with touching shopping baskets, self-checkout screens or products in stores.
About 34% of shoppers surveyed by Which? said they had been turned away on at least one occasion when they tried to pay with cash since the first Covid lockdown. Shoppers were most likely to be refused cash payments when they bought groceries, which accounted for 28% of incidents, though pubs and restaurants accounted for 24% of cases. About 21% of cases were linked to consumers trying to buy cleaning products, which have become even more essential since the outbreak: