Plan for law to protect cash access
Consumers and businesses will have a legal right to withdraw and deposit cash within "a reasonable distance" of their home or premises, under UK government plans.
The proportion of purchases made using cash has been falling in recent years, and accelerated during the Covid crisis.
The number of payments made with notes and coins dropped by 35% last year, according to banking trade body UK Finance, reflecting the reduced opportunities to pay for things during lockdowns.
It still accounted for 17% of all payments, making it the second most-popular way to pay behind debit cards.
In newly-published proposals from the Treasury, it said that people should not have to travel beyond a reasonable distance to withdraw or deposit money, even if they are in low population areas.
"The government proposes that these geographic requirements would be set on the basis of cash access facilities being available within maximum distances of a minimum percentage of the population," the Treasury said.
Initially, the Treasury suggests that people should not have to travel more than 1km, but that distance could be extended over time if cash becomes less popular. The distance proposal is open to views during consultation.
Other considerations include whether the facilities are appropriate for vulnerable people, are accessible for people with disabilities, have adequate opening hours, and are suitably secure for high-value cash deposits.
The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), would oversee the system. The geographic requirements would be set for Britain, and then separately for Northern Ireland.
Consultation on the proposals ends on 23 September.
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