Citizens Advice Scotland has said that access to cash is vital for vulnerable people across Scotland, after new data has found that the number of ATM cash withdrawals has plummeted in the last year.
Responding to the data (see below), which shows that the reduction in withdrawals is greater in Scotland than in any other part of the UK except the south west, CAS Financial Health spokesperson Sarah-Jayne Dunn said:
“Helping people access cash is vital as many families rely on it as a means to control, budget and monitor their spending. With more and more people finding their income reduced or restricted, the need to account for every penny is becoming more apparent.
“Whilst LINK’s research has shown a fall in the use of ATMs, their research has also shown that over two thirds have used cash in the last 2 weeks and 29% would have preferred to have used cash but were discouraged. As highlighted by WHICH?, many shops and retailers have refused to accept cash which has meant that those consumers have had to rely on carers, friends and family to step in and help them shop.
“Put simply, the need for cash has not gone away and we know from our own CAB data that those on lower incomes are at a greater risk of financial vulnerability and exclusion, yet this group has a higher likelihood to prefer cash over card and online payments.
“We must do everything we can to ensure we do not become a cashless society as this will exclude many people who rely on physical money. We would urge the Government to work with retailers and businesses on developing ways to ensure people are not cut off from such a vital lifeline.”