In a dramatic shift to digital it has been predicted that 30% of the UK population could move permanently away from using cash because of coronavirus. Early signs of this are ATM withdrawals across the UK have more than halved from an average of more than £2 billion in the first week of March to £1 billion in the first week of April.
James Daley, head of Fairer Finance, the consumer group, said: “The priority here is to provide access to cash at the least-possible cost for industry.” He added: “Coronavirus may have permanently accelerated the decline in cash use but we already knew we were going in that direction. We’re not yet ready as a society to go cashless as vulnerable groups rely on it.” Large retailers including Tesco and Sainsbury’s have been encouraging shoppers to pay by card rather than cash to minimise the risk of viral transmission. The World Health Organisation has said that cash can be used safely as long as hygiene precautions are followed.