Businesses urged to continue offering cash as payment option

Shoppers who rely on cash must still have the option to pay with coins and notes during the coronavirus outbreak, consumer campaigners have said.

Which? said it is concerned that some vulnerable people may be left unable to pay for the basics they need if some of those businesses that remain open ask for card-only payments.

It has been announced that, from April 1, the contactless card transaction limit will be raised from £30 to £45.

This will mean fewer people needing to enter their pin when making card transactions – and will also give shoppers more opportunities to “tap and go” when in the past they may have used cash.

However, many people still rely on cash for their day-to-day spending.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “It’s understandable that some shops may ask customers for card-only payments to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, but we are concerned this will leave many vulnerable people unable to pay for the basics they need.

“Both the Government and retailers need to find a way to ensure that the millions of people who rely on cash, and may not have a bank card, can still pay for essentials during this difficult time.”

Peter McNamara, chief executive of ATM provider NoteMachine, said: “People are shopping for elderly and vulnerable neighbours, friends and families and a lot of these shopping trips will need to be made with cash.

“Even before Covid-19, many of society’s most vulnerable already had a heavy reliance on cash.

“Removing this payment method at such a critical time would be a devastating blow to many people.”