The UK’s cash payments system could collapse in two years, the industry has warned, as the Treasury is being urged to step in to save it.
Companies which circulate, sort and distribute coins and notes say the rapid trend towards digital payments will soon render their businesses unprofitable, sources told the Daily Telegraph.
At present just over a third of payments made in the UK are cash but this is set to plunge in the coming years.
It is understood that most businesses involved in the cash system have given it between two and five years before it will become commercially unviable in its current form.
Link’s “Access to Cash” review published today warned that the system was on “the verge of collapse” with bank branch and ATM closures leaving entire communities without a hole in the wall just the “tip of the iceberg”.
It recommends that a “guarantee of cash access” should be introduced to help the UK avoid sleepwalking into a cashless society, which would mean businesses providing essential services like energy firms and supermarkets would be legally required accept cash payments.