Cash & Payments: Introduction

Cash and payments in shops encompass a range of traditional and digital methods. Retailers should strive to offer flexible payment options, prioritise security measures, and adapt to evolving customer preferences to ensure smooth and secure transactions for all customers. 

Our position

  1. Campaigns Against Bank Branch Closures: We actively oppose the closure of bank branches without viable alternative access points for cash. Our commitment extends to preserving the essential link between consumers, businesses, and their physical access to cash.

  2. Introduction of Banking Hubs: Bira has championed the creation of banking hubs, serving as one-stop branches for all major banks. These hubs simplify banking operations, ensuring that withdrawing and depositing cash remains a straightforward process for both retailers and consumers.

  3. Engaging with MPs for Support: We have engaged with Members of Parliament to garner their support in retaining access to cash. By presenting the concerns of independent retailers, we strive to build a coalition that values the significance of cash transactions in our communities.

  4. Meetings with Government Departments: Bira has actively participated in meetings with relevant government departments and the Small Business Minister. Our aim is to express the collective concerns of small businesses and emphasise the importance of preserving the use of cash as a viable and accessible payment option.

  5. Media Engagement: Through various press releases, we have engaged with all forms of media to highlight the urgency of retaining the use of cash. These efforts serve to amplify our message and raise awareness about the vital role cash plays in sustaining local economies.

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What you can do

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How it affects our members

  • Cash Payments: Cash remains a widely accepted form of payment in shops. It offers immediacy and simplicity, allowing customers to make transactions without the need for electronic systems or bank accounts. Cash payments provide a sense of tangibility and can be convenient for customers who prefer to manage their spending in physical currency.
  • Digital Payments: With the advancement of technology, digital payment methods have gained popularity. This includes debit and credit cards, mobile payment apps, contactless payments, and online payment platforms. Digital payments offer convenience, speed, and security, allowing customers to make transactions using their preferred electronic devices.
  • Point of Sale (POS) Systems: Shops use Point of Sale systems to process transactions and accept various payment methods. These systems can be traditional cash registers or modern electronic systems that integrate with card readers, scanners, and inventory management software. POS systems provide accurate tracking of sales, generate receipts, and ensure secure payment processing.
  • Contactless Payments: Contactless payments have become increasingly popular, allowing customers to make transactions by simply tapping their cards or mobile devices on a payment terminal. This method is fast and convenient, reducing the need for physical contact or the entry of PIN numbers for small-value purchases. 
  • Security and Fraud Prevention: Retailers prioritise security measures to protect against counterfeit currency, payment fraud, and data breaches. They may employ advanced security features on cash registers, use secure card payment terminals, implement encryption technologies, and comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to safeguard customer payment information.
  • Customer Preferences: Offering a variety of payment options is important to cater to diverse customer preferences. Some customers may prefer cash for privacy reasons or as a way to manage their spending, while others may prefer digital payments for convenience and record-keeping purposes. By accommodating various payment methods, retailers can enhance the customer experience and increase sales.
  • Cash Handling and Banking: Retailers must efficiently manage cash handling processes, including cash register reconciliation, cash drops, and banking procedures. This involves securely storing cash, implementing cash management policies, and regularly depositing funds in bank accounts to ensure adequate cash flow and minimise the risk of theft.
  • Emerging Technologies: The retail industry continues to evolve with the introduction of new payment technologies, such as mobile wallets, biometric authentication, and cryptocurrencies. These emerging technologies have the potential to transform the way transactions are conducted in shops, providing additional options for customers and businesses. 

Additional information

Our extensive research has illuminated a crucial insight - that a significant percentage of indie retailers desire to continue accepting cash transactions. Recognising the importance of this traditional form of payment, we have tirelessly campaigned to keep cash thriving in stores.

In an era where digital payments dominate, we understand that consumers still value the tangible reliability of cash. Recent findings from 2023 have indeed surprised many, as they reveal a notable increase in the use of cash compared to the previous year, defying a long-standing declining trend.

The reality, however, is that for consumers to spend cash, they must first have access to it, and businesses need the support of banks to smoothly handle their takings. 

While the use of card payments has increased, it's important to retain access to cash for those who prefer or rely on it.  Here are some additional points to consider.

Importance of Cash Access

Cash remains essential for many individuals, especially those who are unbanked or prefer the privacy and control that cash provides. It is also crucial for certain segments of society, including the elderly, vulnerable populations, and those with limited access to digital payment methods. 

Cash Management Challenges for Businesses

Managing cash, including banking, change management, and secure storage, can be challenging for businesses. The closure of bank branches has made it more difficult to access banking services, deposit cash, or obtain change. This can pose operational and logistical challenges, particularly for smaller businesses. 

Cohesive Plan for a Cashless Society

If society moves towards a more cashless environment, it is important to have a cohesive plan that ensures continued access to cash for those who need it. This includes maintaining a sufficient network of ATMs, banking hubs, and other cash access points in local communities. 

Development of Banking Hubs

The concept of banking hubs, where multiple businesses share the cost of a central banking facility, can help address the issue of limited banking services in certain areas. This approach can provide businesses with easier access to cash handling, banking services, and change management, thereby reducing their operational burden. 

Support from the Bank of England

The Bank of England recognises the importance of maintaining access to cash and has been encouraging the development of banking hubs. However, there may be challenges in terms of the speed of implementation due to various factors, including industry regulations and operational considerations. 

Collaboration and Advocacy

Retail associations such as Bira, business organisations, and community groups can collaborate and advocate for improved access to cash. This can involve engaging with banks, policymakers, and regulators to accelerate the roll-out of banking hubs and other initiatives that ensure continued access to cash for businesses and consumers. 


Balancing the transition to digital payments while ensuring access to cash is a complex task. It requires collaboration between stakeholders, including banks, regulators, businesses, and community representatives, to develop solutions that meet the needs of all individuals and businesses in society.