Petition Require all businesses and public services to accept cash payments

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

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As many businesses and taxpayer-funded public services are increasingly insisting upon cashless payments, it is important that we safeguard against the potential dangers of this practice. It creates an enforced dependency on banks, even though they cannot always be trusted to act ethically, and is a threat to privacy as people cannot make anonymous payments. If we wish to uphold freedom of choice and the right to privacy, it is imperative that we protect the use of cash.

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Government responded

This response was given on 22 September 2022

The Government does not plan to mandate cash acceptance. It is right that organisations choose the forms of payment they accept. The Government has introduced legislation to support access to cash.

The Government does not intend to mandate cash acceptance. The Government’s view is that as technology and consumer behaviour changes, it should remain the choice of individual organisations as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card based on their consideration of factors such as customer preference and cost.

However, the Government recognises that millions of people continue to transact in cash across the UK, particularly those in vulnerable groups, and engages closely with financial regulators to monitor and assess trends relating to cash. Research undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority found that 98% of small businesses would never turn away a customer if they needed to pay by cash.

The Government has recently introduced legislation to protect access to cash as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill. The Bill establishes the Financial Conduct Authority as the lead regulator for cash access and provides it with appropriate powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities. The Government considers that this legislation will support organisations, including local businesses, to continue accepting cash by ensuring they have reasonable access to deposit facilities.

Following the Government’s commitment to legislate, firms are working together through the Cash Action Group to develop new initiatives to provide shared services, such as bank hubs.

HM Treasury

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