Signs of return to cash use following lockdown dip, says Post Office

Encouraging signs of a return to cash use by people and businesses were seen in August as people ventured out to pubs and back to work, according to the Post Office.

Business customers deposited £831 million, up by 3.1% compared with July, which the Post Office said underlines the extent to which small firms and independent retailers still rely on cash to operate.

Back in April, when stricter coronavirus lockdown measures were in place generally across the UK, £313 million was deposited by business customers.

The data is taken from the Post Office cash tracker, showing the flow of cash through its 11,500 branch locations.

Meanwhile, £945 million was deposited in cash by personal customers at Post Office counters – a 16.3% increase compared with the same month a year earlier.

The Post Office said this reflects people depositing cash built up during the lockdown period, at a time when many banks have been operating reduced opening hours.

The report said that everyday banking services in the Post Office normally tend to be used less in August, compared with other months.

But it said the high deposit levels in August indicate a continued reliance on cash.

Nick Read, chief executive at the Post Office, said: “Our data shows that businesses and customers continue to rely on their local Post Office as the destination where they can deposit their cash.

“Our network of branches in seaside towns, rural locations and close proximity to popular tourist sites has meant that independent businesses have had a convenient location to drop off their day’s takings.”

Martin Kearsley, director of banking at the Post Office, said: “There are definitely encouraging signs of a return to the use and importance of cash following the significant lockdown dip.

“We are seeing a month-on-month growth in business cash deposits since the start of lockdown as people return to work and venture out to our shops, pubs and restaurants and leisure and tourism attractions.”

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