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Question for Treasury

UIN HL2672, tabled on 13 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make the Financial Conduct Authority responsible for tracking whether businesses accept cash money across the economy.

Answered on

27 September 2021

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK.

On 1 July, the Government published the Access to Cash Consultation, seeking views on legislative proposals to protect cash access for the long term. The Government’s proposals include making the Financial Conduct Authority the lead regulator for oversight of the retail cash system. The FCA responsibilities would extend to monitoring and enforcing cash access requirements, assessing cash access needs and demands over time, and monitoring the geographic spread of cash access points across the UK.

This builds on legislative changes made by Government as part of the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses. The financial services industry is already seeking to take advantage of these changes to the benefit of cash users; working with retailers to get this service rolled out to local communities.

In July, the FCA published updated evidence on cash access. This included research on cash acceptance by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which found that the primary motivation for accepting cash is to provide customers with choice. Nearly all (98%) of surveyed businesses stated they would never turn away a customer if they needed to pay by cash.

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