Campaigners are fighting for the right to continue using notes and coins in the U.K. to pay for things; however, even though they are open to a government-issued cryptocurrency, it doesn’t look like that will be appearing anytime soon.
In a report from Bloomberg, around five percent of the British population still relies on notes and coins to pay for their everyday items. As a result, Positive Money, a campaign group, is calling on the government to ensure that ATMs are protected from closure and that people still have the ability to pay for things in cash.
According to the report, those on lower incomes or who don’t have access to a bank account are more likely to be reliant on cash. It found that 62 percent of Britons who earn £9,000 or below rely on notes and coins for their day-to-day spending. This is compared to three percent of the population who earn between £40,000 and £64,000 a year.
Older people are also far more likely to use cash as a means of payment compared to younger people. It found that nearly 40 percent of those aged 65 and above rely on cash, whereas, only eight percent of those aged between 25 and 34 years of age do.
Positive Money said:
As is already the case in countries like Sweden, shops and restaurants will increasingly refuse to accept cash, putting products and services out of reach for potentially millions of people. Government should update the legal definition of legal tender, to require retailers to accept cash as a means of payment.
In Sweden, where there are an increasing number of ‘no cash accepted’ signs seen in shops and restaurants, Stefan Ingves, the Governor of Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, said that it was considering the creation of a government-backed cryptocurrency to work with cash for customers. The use of a cryptocurrency that is an official form of payment is something that U.K. campaigners are interested in looking into further, adding:
The government should work with the Bank of England to introduce a digital version of cash, and set up a public payments provider with the specific job of reaching those who are currently excluded.
Despite interest in this, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, hasn’t given any indication that it will be introducing a state-backed cryptocurrency for its citizens to use as a form of payment. Cash still remains king, but for how long?
Featured image from Flickr via Patrick.