Take note: cash is back (finally)

Girl with banknotes

After a year of being told to tap, swipe and anything else that doesn’t mean paying in real money, the Post Office has revealed it handled record amounts of cash last month.

Stay-at-home holidaymakers were the main reasons for deposits and wirthdrawals totalling £2.9 billion at PO branches in August.

Business cash deposits accounted for £1.03 billion of that, according to the organisation’s cash tracker which estimated they were 23.5 per cent higher than in August 2020.

Recent Post Office research found that nearly half of small hospitality and leisure businesses in the UK rely on cash daily.

Martin Kearsley, banking director, said: “Postmasters have been on hand throughout the summer dealing with record amounts of cash and supporting local businesses in the community by staying open long hours and weekends.”

The news comes as popular holiday spots recorded a 7.5 per cent year-on-year rise in cash withdrawals between January and July, according to Notemachine.

while it’s certainly simpler to head out on holiday without having to change currency, there are still several things to be aware of

James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at money.co.uk said it was too soon to see this as a cash revival, but admitted there were “definitely signs of a something of a mini-boom” in cash use.

“It looks like August’s rise is the result of millions of holidaymakers heading to the British countryside and coast – rather than hopping on to a plane,” he said. “That becomes especially likely given many of the smaller shops, restaurants, bars, local markets and souvenir stalls aren’t set up to accept contactless payments, or possibly can’t enable them at all in parts of the country with poor mobile reception.

“But while it’s certainly simpler to head out on holiday without having to change currency, there are still several things to be aware of.

 “The advantage of using cash is that it can be easier to budget and keep a close eye on what you spend when you’re out and about. As well as this, you’ll never be charged fees for using cash and it’s impossible to have your card copied or cloned.”

He added: “Making larger purchases using a credit card also provides added protection, with the card provider jointly liable with the retailer when something costs between £100 and £30,000. That means if something does go wrong, and you can’t get hold of the seller, you can make a claim against your card company instead.

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