Cash strategy marks important step forward, but legislation still needed, say small firms

Responding to the launch of fresh measures from the Cash Action Group to support communities which lose banking and ATM infrastructure, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Vice Chair Martin McTague, who sits on the Community Access to Cash Pilots Board, said:

“As the pandemic accelerates the shift to cashless, this new strategy will bring hope to communities which are losing bank branches and ATMs.  

“It’s important that the new assessments of need outlined today are independent and fair – we’ll be watching their progress closely.

“Through the access to cash pilots, we’ve discovered new deposit and withdrawal options for those who still rely on notes and coins – consumers who are often among society’s most vulnerable.   

“Shared banking spaces will be fundamental to protecting access to cash in the coming years, alongside a bolstered role for the Post Office in providing local banking services.

“Cashback without purchase will no doubt have an important part to play too. It’s vital that the incentives to offer this service fully take account of the demands placed on businesses which provide it.

“Not only do millions of consumers still want to use cash, it also serves as an important backup for when digital systems fail, as well as a competitor to the handful of card companies that dominate the contactless space. Card providers have ramped up fees in recent years – fees which are ultimately footed by businesses.  

“This strategy marks a very important step forward. We now need government to deliver the access to cash legislation it promised many months ago to cement and build on the progress made today.”