Access to Cash in 2021

22 Feb 2021 News

Access to cash remains a hot-button topic across many of the territories that Tellermate serves. Particularly through the UK and US, cash use has declined slowly as payment technology has improved, and as a result governments and institutions are working to protect people’s access to cash.

As many of our subscribers already know, this is important because typically those that are most disadvantaged in not being able to obtain and spend cash are those of lower income demographics.

Take the US for example, most banks require a minimum balance in savings or checking account in order to avoid fees. This effectively punishes those without a high disposable income and those without the ability to keep their savings above a certain balance. For these people it’s more prudent to keep their savings in cash stored securely at home.

In addition there are regularly ATM withdrawal fees, debit swipe fees and other charges that make it uneconomical for poorer demographics to go through the traditional banking system in the US.

In the UK there are less barriers to having access to everyday banking, however it is still those at the poorest end of the scale and the elderly who are most ‘punished’ when access to cash is limited. With many banks closing branches and ATMs, being able to withdraw physical money is becoming more challenging.

An innovative approach that is being trialled in the UK is a click and collect service for cash, which is a partnership between Loomis and Sonect. This enables stores to offer fee-free cash but without the requirement to make a purchase in store. This delivers some of the benefits of ATMs, but without some of the associated costs and risks.

Even with this debate ongoing, cash is still the 2nd most prevalent form of payment across the US & UK, and is 1st in many countries across Europe and Asia. This highlights the importance of your business being able to process cash effectively, in order to secure your brand and your future.

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