What does cash-only mean?

What does cash-only mean?

Cash only is a term to describe solely using cash for payments. There are many benefits to being cash-only, such as security, reliability and personal freedom.  There are many individuals and businesses in the UK that choose to be cash-only. It is a common myth that cash is ‘dead’, and a cashless society has arrived. In fact, in 2022, 50% of SMEs claimed that they “heavily rely on cash”, proving that cash is very much still relevant in the UK. Despite the UK being a hub for fintech, data from iwoca shows that 46% of SMEs in the UK use cash on a monthly basis, and 32% on a weekly basis. In this article, we will be discussing the reasons why people choose to be cash-only and why you might choose to do the same.

What is cash-only?

Cash-only is a payment policy where a business or individual will only take cash as a form of payment. Often SMEs (small-to-medium-sized businesses) will be cash-only as this is beneficial for their business size and target market.  There are many benefits to being cash-only, both as a business and a consumer. As a business, being cash-only, or at least having cash options within the UK can be a great benefit to your business. Often people from lower-income backgrounds will use cash, so local businesses, often pillars of communities, should be taking cash. Here are some of the other positives of businesses being cash-only:

Avoiding fees

Credit and debit card transactions can incur processing fees, which can be completely avoided when accepting cash. Businesses that don’t necessarily need to use cash can benefit from taking cash payments.


Managing cash can be simpler for some companies, as they can avoid card processing systems and payments. A business could also avoid business banking entirely and simply take their proceeds in cash. Cash payments are also instant, and don’t need to go through complex financial processes in order for funds to be accessed.

Privacy & choice

Cash transactions are completely private and immune to digital surveillance, which is becoming more of an issue as banks push towards a cashless society. Leaving less of a digital trail can help businesses keep control of their financial autonomy.

Advantages of being cash-only

Being cash-only carries many advantages that you should be aware of, and businesses should always consider accepting cash as a payment method. Customers should also be aware of the many benefits that carrying cash has.

1. Easier to budget

A cash-only lifestyle allows for more tangible and straightforward expense tracking. As you are handling physical money, and you can see it decreasing, your expenditure is a lot more real. As The Guardian observed in 2021, the rise of contactless payments has numbed the “pain of payment”. This has undoubtedly contributed to the rise in spending and the fact that one in four adults in the UK are now considered financially vulnerable.

2. Avoid debt & predatory products

These money troubles can then push people into debt and falling victim to predatory products. By staying cash-only, you can ensure that the money you are spending is yours, and that you are not borrowing money to stay afloat.

3. Avoid fees & charges

Cash transactions will completely avoid the various fees associated with credit and debit cards, such as annual fees, interest charges and overdraft fees. You can be assured that when you are spending with cash, there will be no hidden costs.

Disadvantages of being cash-only

While being cash-only has many benefits, there are some disadvantages to only using cash. 

1. Limited accessibility 

Many transactions as of 2024 require electronic payments, often through online payments or point-of-sale (POS) devices and cards. Being cash-only may often limit you from certain businesses that only accept card payments, which is becoming increasingly common. However, thanks to Kasssh, it is still possible to pay online using cash

2. Less security from theft

Cash can be lost or stolen with often no way of recovering the money. Electronic funds can be traced and in some cases refunded. However, remember that electronic funds can also be stolen and hacked remotely, and at large scale as well.  Cash-only transactions benefit from not being traced, but this can be a disadvantage in this case.

3. No credit history

Digital transactions build a credit history, whereas cash-only payments do not. If you are looking to obtain credit in the future, such as for a mortgage or a business loan, you may have a weaker credit score if you have no recorded transactions. However, some cash users choose to eschew credit products entirely.

The future of cash

Being cash-only is a reality for many lower-income households who do not use financial products. But it is also a choice for many who are looking for more control over their money. The steady march towards a cashless society for some represents a stealthy move by governments to increase surveillance and control. A petition rebelling against this in 2023 reached over 25,000 signatures. Many lower-income households and those facing poverty in the UK are feeling ‘left behind’ as well as many older people and even tourists. Central banks are also looking into digital currencies, and both the Bank of England and ECB have expressed interest in digital versions of their currencies, demonstrating a more global shift to cash-free societies. However, many parts of the world are still reliant on cash and are well-settled in its use. Cash-only payments are particularly important in Mexico, where in 2022, it was recorded that 82% of the population used cash as their primary payment method. A lack of trust in banks and the financial system as a whole is the root cause of this, as well as a consumer desire to have agency over their own money.

Start using Kasssh today

Did you know that with Kasssh, you can pay online with cash?  Here’s how it works:

1. Select Kasssh at Checkout

Shop online and select Kasssh as your payment method at the checkout.

2. Receive Barcode

Receive a barcode via email directly into your inbox.

3. Scan & deposit

Take the email with the barcode to your nearest PayPoint accepting store. Our service is fully automated and allows customers to order online, and then pay in cash at over 28,000 locations to secure their order. No accounts or apps are required, nor are any back office integrations. Kasssh’s seamless integration is ideal for ecommerce stores to cater to all paying customers, whether they are paying with bank transfers, digital wallets or cash. We help businesses integrate online cash payments into their stores. If you would like to know more, then please contact us today.