Industry Experts make commitment to support cash at Volumatic’s Cash 2030 Conference

03 March 2022

Experts from the Bank of England, UK Cash Supply Alliance and independent financial consultants Enryo, alongside The Co-op Food Group - who offered an all-important retailer perspective - all agreed they were committed to supporting the continued use of cash for the foreseeable future at a conference held by thought leaders and cash handling innovators Volumatic last week in Coventry.

The Volumatic conference was intended to help retailers understand and react to the rapidly changing retail payments landscape and the role of cash within it and posed the question: What will happen to cash over the next decade?, with industry experts offering key insights to representatives from the world of retail, security and banking who were all invited to join the discussion.

The conference followed on from Volumatic’s ‘Cash After Covid’ webinar and white paper, which found that despite cash use declining during the pandemic,  largely due to misinformation on the safety of using cash (since disproved by WHO), there is still an overwhelming desire from consumers in the UK to continue using cash, and ultimately have the choice to use their preferred payment method, rather than be restricted to card payments only.

Topics under discussion during the conference included the past, present and future of cash usage; the impact of the recent pandemic; consumer attitudes towards cash and payment choice, access to cash and, crucially, what provisions the industry are making for cash, all of which generated some interesting key findings, including:

Cash Usage

  • The demand for cash reduced sharply in the 1st lockdown but has now recovered to a large degree
  • Technology has also had an enormous impact on the payments arena with 38 million regular card users in the UK in 2021 - however, cash remains the second most popular form of payment with 23 million regular cash users and 15 million mobile payment users in third place
  • Cash use is changing in the UK, but millions of people across the UK still choose to use cash in some settings (regardless of age and demographics) and the communities they live in still depend on it
  • Cash is a valid payment choice, and the UK public should not be railroaded into believing otherwise
  • Cash remains an important contingency for everyone else

Access to Cash

  • Access to cash withdrawal (and deposit facilities) remains crucial
  • On the retail side action is being taken, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Payment System Regulator (PSR) continuing to monitor consumer access to cash

Actions to Support Cash

  • As long as a sizable proportion of people depend on cash, there needs to be a viable infrastructure up and down the UK
  • The goal is for us all to better understand the changing needs of the consumer
  • Important steps are being taken to ensure continued access to cash for consumers, including new government legislation
  • It’s time to stop dividing consumers into two groups (cash users and non-cash users) and begin to focus on creating a framework that meets the needs of everyone, no matter what their payment preference

Volumatic also took a poll of attendees to gather information on their thoughts around cash use within their respective businesses and found that all retailers were still happy to accept cash, but only 50% of them actively promoted cash use in their stores – versus 67% who actively promote the use of card payments, suggesting that retailers need to be doing more to encourage the use of cash and help consumers feel confident in using it again.

The day ended with a lively panel discussion around the future of cash, with guest panellists from The Co-op Food Group, Natwest, G4S and LINK answering questions from our attendees, including Tesco, The Card Factory, Barclays Bank and Morrisons.

James Harris, MD at Volumatic, was delighted with how the event went and said: “We held our Cash 2030 day to help encourage the retail community and the cash handling industry to work together to create an equitable and efficient payment ecosystem for future generations."

“This event has prompted some interesting discussions and has been well received by all attendees and as cash handling experts, Volumatic will continue to work with all our partners and customers to facilitate the work that needs to be done to keep access to cash for all and efficiency throughout the cash cycle.”

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