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Restarting Cash: Giving customers the choice of how they pay

As coronavirus restrictions in the UK are steadily lifted and people and businesses try to return to normality with face-to-face transactions, it is evident that many people still prefer to pay with cash when they have the choice. The G4S Cash Solutions team have been working hard up and down the country to meet the increasing demand again in the cash cycle.
Cash handling at a G4S cash processing centre

Since the UK first went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, with most commercial businesses forced to close their doors to customers, the option to make payments in cash was largely taken away from customers for a lot of transactions. Unable to attend premises in person, the only options available to customers were card and digital payment methods, resulting in a significant drop in cash use across the UK. 

Before the pandemic, it was estimated that close to two million people in the UK relied on cash for almost every payment that they made, and around eight million people would struggle if the option of cash payment was taken away from them. Now, as businesses are reopening to customers again, it is clear that for many people the reliance and preference to use cash remains. 

“The demand for our services in the cash cycle has gone up by over 70% in the last few months, and continues to rise” said John Apthorpe, Commercial Director G4S Cash Solutions. “This is happening for one reason - and one reason only; the public are out and about again, they are making payments, and now that they have the option again, a lot of people are choosing to make those payments with cash.”
The demand for our services in the cash cycle has gone up by over 70% in the last few months, and continues to rise
John Apthorpe, Commercial Director, G4S Cash Solutions
This demand for cash payments is echoed by David Pardoe, Head of Loss Prevention, from the high street shop Card Factory: “During both regional lockdowns and particularly on business resumption, it’s clear that we have a not insignificant number of our loyal customers who prefer to settle their transactions using cash.

“As such the end to end cash pipeline will remain a key consideration for our physical estate and I look forward to maturing our relationship with G4S along with our banking partners.”

G4S collects, delivers and processes hundreds of millions of pounds worth of banknotes for retailers and banks every day across the UK.

The growing concern in recent years that the option to pay with cash is being taken away from people in many circumstances prompted the consumer choice company Which? to launch the Freedom to Pay campaign, which has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures in support.

“It is essential that businesses, banks and governments pay attention to what the public both want and need in terms of payment options” said John Apthorpe. “It is evident that a significant part of the population, reflecting a variety of ages, backgrounds and needs, consistently continue to pay using cash when they have the choice. It is essential that they are not left behind and unable to pay, and businesses across the country should ensure that cash acceptance continues and that cash payment remains as an option for their customers.” 

In order for retailers to offer their customers options when it comes to payments, G4S launched G4S Pay, allowing businesses to add on merchant services to their existing cash solution. This  gives their customers a choice of payment methods, while offering the merchant a truly end to end payments solution built by a trusted partner.