Self-styled man of the people Nigel Farage was in Downing Street last week, along with colleagues from the right-wing TV channel GB News, to hand in a petition demanding that businesses continue to accept payment in cash, a bit of a contrast to his last battle over money, his clash with private bank Coutts after it closed his account for having insufficient funds in it.
I agree in principle that people should have the choice between using cards and cash, but very rarely use the latter myself now (although I always carry a small amount for emergencies which has come in handy a couple of times in the last few weeks, in a chip shop whose machine wasn't working and a pub where I ordered a pint before being told that there was a minimum amount for card transactions).
I also understand however why some, especially small, businesses now prefer not to handle cash. The argument is sometimes made that card companies charging commission means that they don't get the full amount tendered by the customer, but banks also levy fees for paying in large amounts of cash and there are also security issues both with keeping banknotes on the premises and taking them to a branch (if you can still find one open: that and the availability of free ATMs, particularly in rural areas, would seem to be the biggest threat to continued use of cash).
The move towards a cashless economy is often linked to the social distancing rules introduced at the start of the Covid pandemic, but I think it began at least a couple of years before that. The widespread acceptance of contactless payments in pubs, shops and on public transport made it much easier to complete transactions by card (albeit harder to keep track of what you were spending) and was therefore becoming the preferred method for many even before the virus struck.
I'm not convinced that cash will ever completely disappear or cease to be legal tender, but it may soon seem as anachronistic a means of payment as writing a cheque or buying a postal order is now.