We will be keeping a live blog featuring voxpops, twitter feeds and updates from the shops about the experiment.

cashless June 26, 20153:55 pm


Businesses on the Manchester street that went cashless a year ago in a social experiment are thriving thanks to the public’s increased appetite for card payments.

Card payments have now passed the ‘tipping point’, overtaking the use of cash in daily life, according to new figures released by industry body The Payments Council.

And it’s the spike in lower value card transactions, particularly on contactless, that has been most noticeable over the past 12 months.

The independent traders of Manchester’s Beech Road shot to the forefront of the cash v cards debate last year when they joined forces with card payments company Handepay to stage a social experiment that tested public reaction to going completely note and coin free.

For one trading day, they encouraged the use of card payments only – and the results were striking as businesses saw an increase in turnover of 22 per cent.

The UK’s first ever cashless street includes a deli, bakery, newsagent and cafes – exactly the type of high street businesses that have suffered most during recent years.

The event also highlighted the fact that half of independent businesses still didn’t accept card payments – meaning they were missing out on millions of pounds worth of business as consumer spending habits changed.

One year on and the Beech Road ‘cashless street’ retailers have all recognised a further shift towards cards from their customers – who are spending more as a result of this convenient way to pay.

Colin Richardson, owner of Richardsons bakery on the road, comments: “Turnover has risen seven per cent in the past year and that’s down to the number of customers paying by card.

“Card payments have doubled in the past year in our shop – from people paying for birthday cakes to workers coming in for their lunch. We also saw an increase since we dropped the minimum spend on the card machine. Contactless payments account for just under half of our card transactions.

“We came very late to card payments and in hindsight should probably have got a machine in sooner. Public habits have definitely changed and the value of card payments we take is only going to keep rising.”

Across the road at deli Epicerie Ludo, owner Ludovic Piot has noticed many more customers making lower value payments on cards instead of cash. In fact, the number of card transactions in his shop has risen to more than 23,000 in the past 12 months – a jump of three per cent.

Card payments now make up 61 per cent of the total income as more and more customers opt to go cashless.

Ludovic comments: “Card payments and contactless are all part of the service. You have to open the door, give the customer every option to pay.

“Our biggest rise as a business has come from our bread and cheese, traditionally lower value items that people would have paid for in cash previously. However, when the customer knows they can pay by card, the amount they spend often goes up.

“We still officially have a minimum spend of £5 on card, but we’re much more flexible about this now than we used to be even a year ago. We rarely insist on it anymore as we like to encourage more people to use their cards – we really think it’s good for business and the numbers back that up.”

Even the newsagent, where locals pop in for a paper, a pint of milk and a bar of chocolate, are now processing two per cent more card payments than a year ago, but have seen the value of these transactions increase by six per cent following the Cashless Street experiment.

Owner Craig Etchell, of C & W Etchells, comments: “We’ve seen the value of card transactions year-on-year increase by six per cent. As a result, we are considering a reduction of our minimum spend and looking at contactless options as last year’s figures have proven the demand. Cash back transactions only account for about 40 per cent of card payments each month, which goes to show that people are turning to card, not just for cashback but because they simply find it the most convenient way to pay.

“It’s something we pay great attention to because the payment landscape is changing all the time and we need to make sure we’re providing the best options for our customers, in order to keep them coming back.”

Handepay believe that the success of the Beech Road retailers in growing their businesses as a result of card payments should serve as an example to other independent businesses of the need to adapt to modern lifestyles.

Mark Latham, product and innovation director of Handepay, says: “The cashless street day was all about highlighting the fact that those independent businesses who do take card payments are avoiding money walking out the door.

“Contactless payments in particular are driving the cashless revolution and with the spending limit rising to £30 from September 2015 and the imminent launch of Apple Pay into the UK, this will only move at a quicker rate. The future for the local high street is in making it as easy as possible for customers to continue to shop there.”

cashless August 28, 201410:42 am

See what happened when we launched the UK’s first ever #cashlessstreet

cashless August 7, 20143:21 pm


Shoppers on one street in Chorlton are being given a snapshot of a cashless society as retailers spend the day trading entirely without notes or coins.

Independent stores on Beech Road, Chorlton, are going ‘cashless’ today – for just one day – as a social experiment to test consumer and business reaction.

Those who run the road’s bars, restaurants, takeaways, bakery, hairdressers, convenience store, deli, boutiques and other stores have agreed to ditch notes and coins and encourage customers to pay only with their cards.

– ITV.com, 21/6/14

cashless August 7, 20143:20 pm

The Sunday Times

Business is good in Chorlton, south Manchester. Each weekend in Beech Road, the area’s main shopping street, the busy shops and restaurants are proof of a country hauling itself out of recession. Profits have been boosted by an influx of media money following the BBC’s relocation to Salford, and the road has begun to resemble Upper Street in the north London borough of Islington, with tapas bars, boutique delis and gastropubs proffering cosmopolitan wares.

– Josh Glancy, The Sunday Times, 22/6/14

cashless July 4, 20145:18 pm

The Daily Express

“This glimpse of a truly cashless future was an intriguing joint venture between the traders’ association and card payment company Handepay. The intention was to test claims that most shoppers are now so used to paying for everything by card that they would welcome a cash-free society.

“So was this the case? By polling visitors to the Beech Road cashless Saturday, Handepay discovered 53 per cent of people would shop locally more often if they knew they could pay by card everywhere, while 60 per cent had left a shop in the past because they were unable to make a purchase by card.

“If the results of his experiment are anything to go by these businesses are missing out. Detractors believe older people – used to a cash and cheque culture – may find the inevitable cashless transition particularly challenging. “

-Jane Warren, Daily Express 4/7/14

cashless July 4, 20145:16 pm

The Guardian

“Articles proclaiming “the death of cash” have, of course, been appearing for years, but perhaps things really are changing. Earlier this month the UK Cards Association revealed that three-quarters of all retail spending is now by debit or credit card – up from less than half a decade ago – while the British Retail Consortium said customers “are using less cash than ever”.

“Against this backdrop, it will be interesting to see how the traders of Beech Road – in an affluent neighbourhood renowned for its alternative “vibe” and high proportion of independent shops (and Guardian readers) – get on with encouraging their customers to forgo cash and pay only with cards on what is traditionally one of the busiest days in the local calendar.”

-The Guardian, 21/6/14

cashless June 30, 20143:07 pm

Handepay’s Mark Latham interviewed on Sky News on the Cashless Street

cashless June 21, 20145:44 pm

The story of The Cashless Street

cashless June 21, 20144:58 pm

Canvassing customers’ reaction

cashless June 21, 20144:57 pm

cashless June 21, 20144:57 pm

Jon Charles, co-owner of The Laundrette, where they are going 100% cashless today.

cashless June 21, 20144:56 pm

cashless June 21, 20144:54 pm

cashless June 21, 20144:54 pm

Another cashless payment…

cashless June 21, 20144:54 pm

cashless June 21, 20144:37 pm

cashless June 21, 20142:50 pm

Rosa Stone, manager of The Horse & Jockey pub, is dropping the normal £10 minimum transaction limit on chip and pin today to encourage customers to use cards over cash.

“I think it’s a fascinating experiment,” she says. “Around 60% of our customers already prefer to pay by card, typically to settle a tab they set up to pay for food and drinks during their visit. But I’m really interested to see how the other 40% react.”

cashless June 21, 20142:45 pm

Sarah Raine, manager of Epicerie Ludo: “Already, I notice that if someone wants to buy £4.50 worth of items, they will often buy something extra to take it over the minimum £5 limit so they can pay by card.”

cashless June 21, 20142:34 pm

Mark Latham, Handepay: “What’s the one thing small businesses can do to keep costs down on cashless payments? Install contactless.”

cashless June 21, 20142:31 pm

cashless June 21, 20141:12 pm

David Edmundson-Bird, retail academic at Manchester Metropolitan University: “We saw how quickly cheque payment has died out. With the rise of cashless payments, it’s feasible that cash could go the same way.”

cashless June 21, 20141:10 pm

cashless June 21, 20141:08 pm

Lauren Carter, Katherine Waller, Jess Coyne and Chris Eddlestone, outside The Parlour. “It’s just easier to use card. We forget to get cash out.”

cashless June 21, 20141:05 pm

cashless June 21, 201411:52 am

Patrick Hall, proprietor of The Laundrette: “On a normal weekend around 70% of payments are by card and 30% by cash, but we are going to encourage all our customers to enter the spirit of the day and pay by card, and I don’t envisage having too many problems,” he says. “We are increasingly in a world where cash is disappearing, and this is a chance to prepare ourselves for that. The big chains automatically offer customers several ways to pay and some small independents can lag behind.”

cashless June 21, 201411:51 am

Peter Kellett, Richardsons the bakery, fresh from interviews where he discussed why he’s now installed a card payment terminal from Handepay. “It’s where society is going”, he explains.

cashless June 21, 201411:49 am

cashless June 21, 201411:46 am

Athena and Katerina, basking in the sunshine outside Seredipitea. Athena: “I’ll be paying for these drinks on card. I never have cash on me.”

cashless June 21, 201411:45 am

cashless June 21, 201411:40 am

Chris Ream, Seredipitea: “The fact that Beech Road doesn’t have a cash point is the first thing I noticed when looking to open the shop. Offering cashless payments is essential.”

cashless June 21, 201411:36 am

cashless June 21, 201411:06 am

cashless June 21, 201411:04 am

Sky News speaks to Craig Etchells, from Etchells newsagent on his customers’ increasing move towards cashless. Watch here: : https://uk.news.yahoo.com/video/no-money-cashless-street-090444419.html

cashless June 21, 201410:15 am

Early trade on Beech RD – are you ready to go cash free? #cashlessstreet

cashless June 21, 201410:15 am

cashless June 21, 201410:14 am

Are you ready to go cash free? Early trade on Beech Rd at our #cashlessstreet social experiment http://www.handepay-cashless-street.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/photo361-1024×768.jpg

cashless June 21, 20149:53 am

Sky News have just done their first live report from the #cashlessstreet – in Etchells newsagent.

cashless June 21, 20149:53 am

Chris Ream, manager of coffee shop Serendipitea, says the first thing he noticed when looking at opening a business on Beech Road was the lack of a cash machine.

cashless June 21, 20149:51 am

Craig Etchell, Beech Road newsagent, says his store is not adding a surcharge to any card payments today. #cashlessstreet

1 Comment

  1. News of the cashless street on Beech Road is spreading fast, nice interview on Sky News just now.

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