Shoppers say retailers should be forced to accept cash

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The British public think shops and restaurants should be forced by law to accept cash, research has found.

Six in 10 shoppers would support a move to make cash acceptance compulsory, according to a major survey conducted for Telegraph Money by cash machine provider Cardtronics.

This comes as the use of physical cash continues its dramatic decline in Britain. 

Many shops, restaurants and sporting venues have blocked customers from paying in their preferred way since the pandemic began.

This is despite reassurances from experts that Covid is highly unlikely to be spread by the handling of notes and coins.

The survey, of more than half a million shoppers, also found that nearly half of the British public purposely avoid retailers that don’t accept physical currency. 

Marc Terry of Cardtronics said: “It is clear from our data that consumers want better access to cash, and so legislation must be implemented to ensure they have the option to pay by cash over the counter.

“Cash provides us with a choice, freedom from technology, and greater security, which must be protected.”

More than half of Britons believe the country is being pushed into cashlessness against its will, a previous survey for this newspaper found.

Meanwhile, research last year from consumer group Which? found that one in three shoppers had been turned away from retailers, attractions and restaurants when trying to pay with notes or coins.

Along with acceptance of notes and coins, access to cash is also in decline in Britain. Banks accelerated their closure programmes last year, with 736 branches shuttered.

The number of free cash machines has fallen by a quarter since 2018, with fewer than 50,000 remaining.

Around eight million adults would struggle without cash access, and 1.4 million people do not have a bank account and rely on cash to survive, according to the Post Office.

This newspaper’s Keep Cash campaign has urged the Government to ensure people can both access and spend cash.

Last year the campaign secured commitments from more than 20 major retailers to continue accepting cash in their outlets indefinitely.

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