Steve Buissinne

Mencap Cymru calls for cash and cards to be used at shops and restaurants

The disability charity says that businesses refusing to accept cash is “blatant discrimination”

More than 600 people have signed a Senedd petition calling on the Welsh Government to look at whether businesses that only accept card payments are being discriminatory.   

Many people with learning difficulties are not able to get a bank card or use electronic payments for security reasons.

Elaine Derrick’s son has autism and severe learning difficulties. He attends a day care centre four days a week. Recently he was turned away from a restaurant in Newport because they did not accept cash.

Elaine says these are additional barriers and make him feel excluded from society.  

“It’s all about being independent and managing things for himself as much as possible. But how can he do that when these barriers are kept.

“We’ve just got so used to paying the things [with card]. Contactless has become part of what we do. I think it’s only when you have a child with a disability… you notice all these places [that don’t accept card payment]. But it is getting more and more difficult.”

Wayne Crocker, Director of Mencap Cymru, has labelled the move towards a cashless society as “blatant discrimination to people that rely on cash because they don’t have access to credit or debit cards.”

“Many older people depend on cash. People who are on certain types of benefits might depend on cash. I think what’s going to happen, as we move faster and faster towards a cashless society, is that people are going to be excluded.”

Coffi Co. is a café based in Cardiff Bay . They became card payment only business before the pandemic following a burglary.

General Manger Louis Vanryckeghen says that say that although they may lose one or two customers a day, card payments are more secure for their business.

“It is safer in the sense that we don’t keep cash on the premises. We’ve had break-in in the because they were after cash. So we don’t have cash anymore for safety and for it makes it easier to run the business.

“We’re happy with it and the customer doesn’t mind that much. I think as the whole of society moves towards [becoming a cashless society], people don’t mind paying with card.”

Several hundred signatures are already on the petition. The aim is gather 10,000 names before it is handed into the Senedd on 15 May 2023.