Closed petition Make it unlawful for shops to refuse cash payments.
Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.
Businesses small and large across the UK have discriminated on people that is cash to pay for goods. Not everyone wants a digital trail and others simply cannot pay by card.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 25 April 2022
The government does not plan to mandate cash acceptance. Businesses are able to choose the forms of payment they accept. The government’s proposals for legislation support cash acceptance.
Read the response in full
The government does not plan to mandate cash acceptance. While the government recognises the ability to transact in cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, particularly those in vulnerable groups, it remains the choice of individual businesses as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card. This may be based on factors such as customer preference and cost.
Nonetheless, the government wants to ensure that people, including those with characteristics of vulnerability, have appropriate access to banking services, which includes payment services. The government works closely together with regulators and stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors. Regarding cash specifically, the government engages closely with financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess trends relating to cash. In addition, all service providers are bound under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, in the way they deliver their services.
An important aspect of supporting cash acceptance by businesses is to ensure businesses have access to deposit facilities within reasonable distances. At Budget in March 2020 the government committed to legislate to protect access to cash in the UK. Following this, the government brought forward a consultation on Access to Cash in July 2021. The consultation sought views on legislative proposals to make sure people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash. The government's proposals support the continued use of cash in people's daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities. The government has carefully considered responses to the consultation and will set out next steps in due course.
Following the government’s commitment to legislate, firms are working together through the Cash Action Group to develop new initiatives to provide shared services. This includes bank hubs. Last year, industry piloted new shared bank hubs in Rochford, Essex, and Cambuslang, Scotland. The hubs provide basic banking services including counter services run by the Post Office, and dedicated space where community bankers from major banks can meet customers of that bank.
During the pilots, £4.65 million of cash was deposited in the two locations, and 92% of the businesses who used the hubs reported that they were more likely to keep accepting cash because of the pilots. Building on the experience of the pilots, industry has committed to extending the opening of these bank hubs until April 2023 and has since announced plans for eight new bank hubs across the UK. The government welcomes the direction set by industry’s commitments and looks forward to seeing what results they deliver for local communities across the UK.