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Freedom to Pay. Our Way.

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Following the success of our #SaveOurCashpoints campaign, FSB and the consumer group Which? have launched a fresh, broader initiative aimed at protecting free access to cash all over the country. The Freedom to Pay. Our Way. campaign has three clear asks:

  • The appointment of a regulator with a clear mandate to protect access to cash for as long as people want and need to use it.
  • Banks and building societies to do far more to help all of their customers make the transition to online banking.
  • The Payment Systems Regulator to immediately review LINK’s financial inclusion programme. New and previous research from FSB and Which? shows this programme is not working as it should.

Why is this a focus for FSB?

The latest figures indicate that cash points are currently closing at a rate of 500 a month – following cuts to ATM funding that started to take effect last summer – and we’ve lost more than 3,000 bank branches since 2015.

This diminution of our cash infrastructure is restricting the freedom of those who want to pay in cash, making it harder for small business owners to deposit their takings and hurting footfall on our high streets.

When cash machines and bank branches are lost, local growth often takes a hit.  

But isn’t the move towards a cashless society inevitable?

The most comprehensive review of the use of cash in the UK conducted to date shows that 25 million people still see cash as a necessity, and over two million are almost entirely dependent on it to live their lives.

Of course habits are rapidly changing. But cash remains a vital payment method for many. It’s particularly important for vulnerable consumers, such as the elderly, those with a disability and those who need to budget very carefully.

Millions of small business owners have customers who want to pay in cash. If they cannot access notes and coins, that’s bad for sales. Equally, cashless transactions can often be accompanied by substantial fees for firms. Without cash to compete with alternative payment methods, the chances are that these fees would increase.

How do I get more involved in #Freedom2Pay?

You can start by signing our petition urging the Government to appoint a regulator with responsibility for ensuring access to cash. We’ve already surpassed 100,000 signatories. We’re aiming for 150,000.

If you’ve been personally affected by the issues above, please do get in touch with the media team and your local Development Manager to see how you can take the campaign forward at the local level.

And please support us across social media using the hashtag #Freedom2Pay.