Stop this dash from cash: With banks and ATMs closing at a record pace, it’s time to make our voices heard, says VICTORIA BISCHOFF
Our cash infrastructure is hanging by a thread. Bank branches and ATMs are closing at a record pace and, as Money Mail reported last month, scores of retailers are still using the pandemic as an excuse to refuse notes and coins.
So it is great news that the Treasury has finally woken up to the fact that urgent intervention is needed to prevent the millions of people who still rely on cash from being left behind.
In consultation documents, ministers said no one should have to travel beyond a reasonable distance to withdraw cash, and promised to introduce long-awaited legislation to protect this vital payment method.
This announcement is long overdue. And it is crucial that any new laws ensure people are still able to spend cash as well as access it.
Threat: Bank branches and ATMs are closing at a record pace with scores of retailers still using the pandemic as an excuse to refuse notes and coins
Too many essential shops, including pharmacies, are now insisting on card payments. And I’m fed up with car parks demanding drivers pay via fiddly smartphone apps.
Regularly, you tell us that these slapdash attempts to push cash out the back door are leaving you feeling isolated. Well now you can have your say.
Before announcing its next steps, the Treasury is collecting views from industry and consumers.
If you would like to weigh in, write to [email protected] or Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT — and tell us why cash matters to you. We will then submit a response on behalf of all our readers.
Not far enough
For months, campaigners have expressed outrage that technology giants such as Google have facilitated an online fraud free-for-all, and lined their pockets from the proceeds of crime by allowing crooks to post scam adverts.
I am glad to hear that from September 6, all financial service providers who want to advertise on Google will need to show they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
However, adverts relating to debt, credit-repair services, cryptocurrency and gambling will not be covered by the new policy.
Tougher action is still needed. It is mindboggling that ministers are yet to include protection against scam adverts in its Online Safety Bill.
Scam victims have lost upwards of £2.6billion since May last year, with the vast majority of fraud cyber-enabled, according to Action Fraud. We need new laws to stop crooks in their tracks.
From September 6, all financial service providers who want to advertise on Google will need to show they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority
Hit the gazumpers
With competition in the property market at fever pitch, it was only a matter of time before the dastardly gazumpers began stirring up trouble again.
When a seller accepts an offer, that should be that. They shouldn’t be allowed to ditch their buyer penalty-free if a higher bid comes in later.
It leaves hopeful buyers thousands of pounds out of pocket, and holds up entire chains.
You need only look to countries such as Australia for simple ideas on how this dirty practice can be stamped out. But despite years of talking about what could be done, we are still waiting for something actually to be done.
Tom Kitchin was accused of pocketing thousands in tips earned by staff over five years
Your tipping point
Tipping hit the headlines again this week after chef Tom Kitchin was accused of pocketing thousands of pounds in gratuities earned by front-of-house staff over five years.
This got me thinking. On holiday in sunny North Wales last week, not one of the pubs or restaurants I visited automatically added a service charge to the bill.
And after receiving particularly great service at a little place called The Last Inn in Barmouth, the waiter was genuinely surprised when we handed back the card terminal so he could add a tip before we paid.
What a contrast to London, where most eateries seem to add at least a 10 per cent ‘voluntary’ service charge to every bill. Even pubs now heavily promote their tipping option when paying via a smartphone app.
As someone who spent their student years working in hospitality, I like to consider myself a generous tipper. But it was a breath of fresh air for a tip to be genuinely appreciated rather than expected.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on tipping when eating and drinking out — write to me at the email address below.
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