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Cash reliance: >50% of people in 43/48 UK counties still reliant on cash
  • County Down in Northern Ireland is the UK’s most cash-reliant county, according to new PayPoint research
  • A cashless society would create a north-south divide as all major cash-reliant counties are in the north of England, the West Midlands or the devolved nations
  • Over two thirds (67%) of all purchases in PayPoint’s network of convenience stores were made in cash over FY 2020/21
  • One in five (21%) people in the UK used an ATM 2-3 times per week in the past year

05 August, Welwyn Garden City: According to new research from PayPoint published today, County Down in Northern Ireland is the most cash-reliant county in the UK. The new research combines PayPoint sales data, looking at cash as an overall percentage of transactions in its network of 28,000 UK stores over FY20/21, with regional attitudinal data* of how many people say they are reliant on cash.

Of the 48 UK counties included in the study**, 43 have an overall cash reliance score of >50%, indicating that the need for cash by millions of people to support day-to-day expenditure is still of major importance across the whole of the UK.

The research also reveals how a north-south divide could emerge in a cashless society, with the most cashreliant counties spread across the north of England, the West Midlands and the devolved nations. After County Down, County Antrim, Lanarkshire, Merseyside and County Durham all feature highly in the ranking.

Furthermore, the data shows that:

  • Two thirds of all transactions in PayPoint’s network of convenience stores – which have boomed in popularity as people shopped locally during the pandemic – are made in cash
  • One in five (21%) people across the UK still use an ATM two to three times a week
  • 64% of Brits think more should be done to protect cash, rising to 67% in Scotland

Nick Wiles, Chief Executive of PayPoint, said: “Among continued sensationalism and scaremongering over the decline of cash, it is more important than ever that we recognise its continued importance to communities around the UK.

“Despite the rise of digital payments during the pandemic, we must not forget that many people are still reliant on cash, and they are also often the most vulnerable in society. This is why PayPoint remains committed that, through our 28,000-strong retailer partner network, any individual can access cash whenever they need it. Later this year, we will begin a nation-wide roll out of a new Over The Counter service to provide more cash access points for consumers, following its hugely successful trial over the past year. This will allow anyone in the UK who needs to withdraw cash to do so at even more locations right on their doorstep, particularly in areas where there is currently a lack of free-to-use ATMs.

“It is the continued investment in such services that demonstrates PayPoint puts action over hyperbole in its ambition to safeguard cash access over the long term. I would urge our industry partners, competitors and Westminster to do the same.”

The UK’s cash reliance county rankings are as follows:

UK CountyCash reliance score***
County Down69%
County Antrim64%
West Midlands64%
County Durham63%
South Yorkshire63%
West Yorkshire62%
Greater Manchester62%
North Yorkshire62%
Greater London61%
Mid Glamorgan61%
Tyne and Wear61%
West Lothian59%
South Glamorgan55%
East Sussex52%
West Sussex48%

PayPoint Press Office
MHP Communications
[email protected]
+44 20 3128 8100

* PayPoint commissioned Censuswide to survey 2,000 UK consumers, with a nationally-representative sample in July 2021

** Only counties where PayPoint’s network of 28,000 convenience stores covers more than 5 stores were included in the study

*** The cash reliance score combines store transaction data (the percentage of purchases made in cash) with regional attitudinal data (the percentage of people who consider themselves to be cash-reliant)


For tens of thousands of businesses and millions of consumers, we deliver innovative technology and services that make life a little easier:

The PayPoint Group serves a diverse range of organisations, from SME and convenience retailer partners, to local authorities, multinational service providers and e-commerce brands. Our products are split across three core business divisions:

  • In Shopping, we enhance retailer propositions and customer experiences through EPoS services via PayPoint One, card payment technology, ATMs and home delivery technology partnerships in over 60,000 SME and retailer partner locations across multiple sectors. Our retail network of over 28,000 convenience stores is larger than all the banks, supermarkets and Post Offices put together
  • In E-commerce, we deliver best-in-class customer journeys through Collect+, a tech-based delivery solution that allows parcels to be sent, picked up and dropped off at thousands of local stores
  • In Payments and Banking, we help companies and their customers make and receive payments quickly and conveniently. This includes our digital payments platform, MultiPay, an eMoney offering that enables cash through to digital transactions and cash solutions providing vital consumer access across our extensive retail network

Together, these solutions enable The PayPoint Group to create long-term value for all stakeholders, including customers, communities and the world we live in.