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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): Cash acceptance within SMEs

Teresa McGarry Director 15/11/2021

Innovation and new technology are making digital payments easier than ever for consumers of all ages. In February 2020, according to the FCA’s Financial Lives survey, 84% made a contactless payment in the previous 12 months, up from 63% in 2017.

Small businesses have typically seen the level of cash being used to pay within their business decline by 15% since before Covid-19, whilst contactless payments have increased by 10%.

However, despite a decline in use, cash remains a vital payment method for many, including the most vulnerable in society. In February 2020, 5.4 million adults (10%) relied on cash for all or most of their daily purchases.

The FCA commissioned Savanta to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research to understand the key factors that determine whether small and medium sized business owners (SMEs) choose to accept cash and how important the cost of cash acceptance is in this decision, both in absolute terms and relative to the cost of accepting digital payments.

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