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The pandemic is accelerating the end of cash—and leaving the most vulnerable behind

The use of cash was already in decline, but the pandemic may spell its end. Where does that leave the 1.4 million Britons without bank accounts?

By Zahra Manji  

The UK cash infrastructure costs around £5bn a year. With the pandemic, this has become increasingly unsustainable, causing ATMs and bank branches to close nationwide. Photo: Justin Kase z12z / Alamy Stock Photo

When was the last time you used cash? I’ll give you a minute. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the UK has seen a sharp decline in the use of cash. The volume of cash withdrawn from ATMs has dropped by 60 per cent during the first national lockdown than in the same period in 2019. Due to government guidance on the risk of surface contact, businesses and individuals who once relied on hard cash are now having to adapt. 

Research published by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, shows that more Britons are turning to…

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