New report from the Bank of England highlights sustained recovery of cash
21 October 2022
With ongoing media speculation and misinformation being spread about the demise of cash for many years now, the latest Quarterly Bulletin published by the Bank of England shows that following the fall in cash usage during the pandemic, there has been a sustained recovery in cash usage since the UK came out of lockdown and that the UK are definitely not ‘going cashless’ anytime soon.
While Covid has had a lasting impact on payment habits, with many shifting towards digital payment methods, this latest data has found that cash use has proved resilient over the last two years, with both a recovery in the transactional use of cash and the value of banknotes in circulation now being close to their highest ever level. It also found that up to 60% of the population is now holding more cash as a store of value – or what some people would call 'saving for a rainy day.'
These findings mean that cash continues to be the key payment method for one in five people in the UK and that 1.1 million people rely on cash for their everyday spending. Cash also remains an important backup option for those who don’t use it each day.
In January 2022, an estimated 73% of consumers said they use cash, up from only 50% of consumers in mid-2020. There has also been a recovery in cash withdrawals, noted not only highlighted by a report from The Post Office last month, but also in recent ATM figures, which after falling by around 55% during the pandemic, had recovered by nearly 75% in Jun 2022.
What has caused this resurgence in cash usage?
This resurgence in cash usage is fuelled by a number of things:
- An increase in consumers’ opportunities to spend in-store as restrictions eased
- The decrease in online spending since the pandemic as customers can now choose to shop elsewhere
- Fewer concerns over cash transmitting Covid following confirmation by the WHO that cash poses no greater hygiene risk than any other form of payment
- More retailers now accepting cash again – as well as no longer actively encouraging contactless payments
- The cost-of-living crisis has prompted more people to use cash to help them budget
- Access to cash is starting to improve after falling drastically with the accelerated closure of many bank branches – in July 2022 a new legislation was introduced to protect cash and ensure people could have access to withdraw and deposit money within a reasonable distance from their home. This has resulted in banks, building societies and the Post Office working together to offer solutions to more communities that require better access to cash.
How can businesses benefit from the increase in cash usage?
With cash usage now having stabilised and showing good signs of recovery following Covid, it’s vitally important for all businesses to be taking consumer demand seriously and accepting cash.
Research by the Financial Conduct Authority has found that 80% of small-medium size companies believe they are very likely to be accepting cash for at least the next five years, which shows they still consider cash a relevant form of payment and that their customers still want to use it.
This means that in preparation for the festive season ahead, businesses should not only be accepting cash payments, but also looking to invest in effective solutions to help them process cash more efficiently and lower their cash handling costs – especially as card transaction fees look set to continue to rise.
How Volumatic can help
If your business needs an easier and cost-effective way of processing cash, look no further than Volumatic’s range of innovative cash-handling solutions.
From our 100% accurate simple money-counting scales – including the new improved CountEasy 2 and the CountEasy TS (touchscreen) – to our all-in-one cash handling solution, the CounterCache intelligent (CCi), which offers secure storage, accurate cash counting and forgery detection in one simple, discrete device, our solutions make your end-of-day cash processing more efficient, meaning staff only touch cash once until it reaches the bank. In addition, all cash data is instantly available to the staff or head office for reconciliation purposes, making life easier for everyone.
The CCi can also reduce your cash processing costs by up to 75%, as cash is only touched once between your POS and your bank, meaning less shrinkage and the added benefit of making your team feel more secure, especially at busier times of year. The increase in efficiency also gives your staff more time to spend with your customers and on other key tasks.
Volumatic Sales & Marketing Director Mike Severs said: “As cash-handling experts, Volumatic have joined forces with many industry experts over the years, including the Bank of England, and so this latest data from them is extremely interesting and echoes what our own research found this year at our Cash 2030 conference.”
“Cash is seeing a real resurgence and is here to stay, so businesses need to take note and give customers the choice to pay by cash if they want to, especially as the festive season is approaching and more consumers are turning to cash to help them budget during these difficult economic times we find ourselves in. Cash isn’t the enemy or 'dirty' – it will boost profits and can be quickly and easily processed with a little help from our intelligent cash handling solutions.”