Why move towards cashless society must not leave communities behind - The Yorkshire Post says

The country is shifting towards a 'cashelss society'. Photo: PA
The country is shifting towards a 'cashelss society'. Photo: PA

There is a generation of people who have been brought up on cash. It helps them to run their lives, to budget, to put food on the table and to make sure they can put the heating on.

Those people should not be left behind by the relentless digitisation of every aspect of our society.

More payments are being made digitally. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

More payments are being made digitally. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

It is reassuring then that cash machine network LINK is taking action to support those not ready to go cashless, in spite of the country’s continuing shift from a high-cash economy to one where most payments are made digitally.

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The network has today announced that new free-to-use ATMs will be installed in York as it extends a pilot scheme designed to protect free access to cash across the country.

As banks, building societies and, in some cases, post offices, withdraw from the high street, some communities run the risk of being left without either a free ATM or access to cash through a post office counter.

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For whole swathes of Yorkshire, especially rural towns, villages and hamlets, where patchy internet access can prove problematic for digital transactions and financial management, an absence of both could present a very real danger that they are starved of their lifeblood.

Indeed, though Britain is gradually moving towards a cashless society, through contactless payment and online banking, there are still many people who prefer to deal with money physically – and they should not be penalised for doing so.

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Steps such as this taken by LINK will not only help to ensure that there remains a choice for people in the way they spend their money but will also support traditional towns, villages and high streets to remain vibrant by helping to plug a gap where high street banks once had a visible presence – and a cash machine to boot.

Given the then Government’s commitment to protect access to cash earlier this year, MPs and policy makers will be enhancing myriad communities by doing so.