Author: Sirin Kale
As a result of the pandemic, retailers and banks have been pushing us to use contactless payments and online services for hygiene reasons. But many older, abused and unbanked people still depend on cash. What will happen to them?
Those of us who use contactless payment technology routinely scarcely noticed the coronavirus-induced switch to a virtually cashless economy, apart from the limit being increased to £45. But for the approximately 1.2 million people living in the UK who are unbanked– meaning they don’t have access to any bank account – buying essentials became a herculean undertaking. “People without legal immigration status in the UK are not legally allowed to open a bank account,” says James Tullett of the migrant and refugee charity Ramfel. When shops refuse to take cash from these people, they leave them vulnerable to bad actors, Tullett adds. “They are likely to use informal services, which are more open to being exploited.”