Bira backs Which? Cash Friendly Pledge


In a recent Bira survey of 187 retailers, 89.9% reported they accept cash payments, which still means 1 in 10 are not, although many of these may currently be operating click-and-collect/online only.  Which? however, reported that around 1 in 3 of consumers have struggled to pay for things with cash throughout the pandemic, in some cases even essential goods.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the way people shop and pay for things, with many benefiting from digital payments for the first time. However, for the millions of people who rely on cash, the last year has presented some serious challenges. 

Recent research from consumer organisation Which? has found that 1 in 3 people have struggled to pay for things with cash since the start of the pandemic, which has resulted in many consumers - especially those who are cash dependent, of which there are 2.5 million - being unable to purchase even essential goods. Worryingly, thousands more have been left feeling ashamed or stressed because of fears their cash will be rejected at the till.

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Keep the change: Retailers sign up to Which?’s cash acceptance pledge

working with Bira, the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores - is launching a new voluntary initiative designed to ensure that millions of consumers who rely on cash are not excluded by the transition to digital payments

Some of the biggest names in retail have already signed up to the Pledge including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, John Lewis, LloydsPharmacy and Waitrose - who have all made a public commitment to keep accepting cash in their stores, recognising that not all customers are yet ready or able to pay digitally. 

The Bank of England also supports the introduction of the pledge. Its Chief Cashier Sarah John said the ability to use cash remains vitally important for many people, and by signing up “businesses are helping to ensure that everyone in the UK is able to use the form of payment that best meets their needs”.

One of the independent retailers already signed up to the pledge is the Lodge Cottage Farm Shop in Crockey Hill, York. Alison Owens, who owns the store, said: “As a small local business we think it’s important not to exclude anyone, and we would never refuse anyone trying to pay with cash. 

“A lot of our elderly customers rely on cash and people are often telling me that other stores will now only take card payments. We are a small farm shop that has served the local community for 10 years and will continue to accept cash for people buying our goods.”

The consumer champion is inviting all retailers, large and small, to sign the pledge, which has been launched in response to concerns that cash is becoming increasingly difficult to spend as businesses turn to digital payments, a problem that has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A massive shift towards online shopping over the last year and scare stories about the safety of cash handling prompting some businesses to go completely cashless have led to a huge drop in cash usage. Which? research found that 34 per cent of consumers reported being unable to pay with cash at least once when trying to buy something since coronavirus restrictions were first introduced.

Now that restrictions are gradually lifting, Which? wants to ensure that the 10 million consumers who are not ready or able to give up cash are not left in a position where they can’t pay with notes and coins as a result of businesses permanently refusing cash. 

If you haven’t already, Bira is encouraging members to take the pledge to show your customers you’re accepting cash.

Benefits of joining the Cash Pledge:

  • Your company name announced at the Which? public launch in May on their pledge site.
  • The first 300 retailers who sign up will be sent a package of window vinyls, posters, badges and stickers with Which?’s Cash Friendly logos. See how these can be used here
  • The Pledge will be promoted in national and trade media
  • The campaign will be supported by a Which? social media campaign
  • The Pledge will be promoted in Which? Money Magazine
  • All Which? members and supporters will see the campaign

Join the pledge today

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