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UK launches local pilot schemes to support continued access to cash

Local communities across the UK are being encouraged to join a new national pilot scheme to redress the shift away from hard cash to card and digital-based payments.

with only one in ten transactions projected to be made in cash within the next decade, the Community Access to Cash pilots will to help test solutions to local cash needs, with the goal of developing a scalable programme that can inform national policy.

The aim is to create new approaches to current challenges, which include helping local shops to give cashback, supporting groups to become more comfortable making digital payments or developing alternative ways to help small businesses continue to bank cash.

The launch of the pilots follows the publication of the 2019 Access to Cash Review, which found that 17% of the UK population rely on cash, with vulnerable communities, including the poor and those in rural areas, at particular risk from reduced access to cash.

The Pilot programme is chaired by Natalie Ceeney, author of the Access to Cash Review.

“With the UK becoming an increasingly cashless society we need to make sure that digital payments work for everyone, but we also need to support communities who rely on cash, so that no-one gets left behind,” she says. “We are very keen to hear from local communities and work with them to identify solutions, acting as a test bed for the type of measures that could be rolled out more widely.”