Lockdown measures implemented at the end of March mean Britons must not leave the house unless it is for an essential need, such as food shopping, one form of exercise per day, or a medical requirement. As a result, the standard use of cash on a day-to-day basis has significantly decreased according to recently released data. LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, has revealed transaction volumes have dropped around 60 percent on average when compared to the same time last year.
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With all but essential businesses closed, there are less places for Britons to spend their money and as a result, cash has not been used as frequently.
However, while cash withdrawals have fallen recently, more consumers are now turning to contactless and digital payments.
75 percent of those surveyed stated they were using less cash, with over half using cash a lot less.
And the move could also spell the death of cash payments even after the pandemic comes to an end.
76 percent of people asked stated they believe the coronavirus crisis will affect their future use of cash over the next six months.
Half of people said they would use cards more, with 44 percent saying they would now opt for contactless and mobile payments over paper money.
However, the network also noted people across the UK are still withdrawing £1 billion from ATMs each week through 11 million cash withdrawals.
Consumers are also increasing the average value withdrawn, despite the use of ATMs decreasing, which is up from around £65 per withdrawal to £82.
Chief Executive of LINK, John Howells, said: “The fact people are using less cash shouldn’t come as a surprise because with cafes, pubs, restaurants and some shops closed, people are travelling less and there are far fewer opportunities to spend in the first place.
“However, LINK ATMs are still issuing around £1 billion per week to 11 million people. Even if this crisis does lead to less cash use in the longer term, people should be reassured that LINK and its members will continue to ensure good access to all who still rely on it.”
The data is derived from YouGov, which was commissioned by LINK to ask questions to consumers online.
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Amid the lockdown, the limit for contactless card payments has been increased to £45.
The move was taken from April 1, 2020, in a signal British consumers are moving away from cash payments.
Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said of the decision: “The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.
“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.”
Several businesses have expressed aversion to cash payments during the pandemic.
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