In an effort to reduce costs, enhance security and “offer a more convenient 24-hour method of payment”, Oxford City Council have announced their intention to go cashless across various services throughout the year. This will involve a reformed system of payment focused around BACS, Direct Debit and debit and credit cards. However, the Council has offered reassurance that customers will still be able to use cash throughout the city, including through Post Offices.
Official estimates suggest that the move will save the Council around £45,000 a year is handling costs and other administrative charges. This latest move comes after a long process of the Council encouraging customers to make use of the cashless option, which has seen a steady decline in payments made with cash. Such a decline has been rapidly accelerated through the measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services, Councillor Nigel Chapman said in a press release:
“The Council has long advocated using non cash or cheque payment as the most cost effective and most secure method. There is now an increasing trend for digital payment in most aspects of life. With so little cash and so few cheques being used now, and with the Council looking to save money in the wake of the pandemic, we feel the time is right to move entirely to this method when in direct contact with the Council.”
“Because of the minimal amount of cash and cheque transactions the impact on customers will be small. But there are those who may still need to pay in cash or cheque and it is important that they still can. So the City Council will ensure that they will still be able to pay Council bills, including rent payments, by using any of the well-established 42 PayPoint facilities spread across Oxford, and at post offices”.
Recent records reveal that just 0.52% of all Council transactions are made with cash or cheques, despite the high cost of administering them.
The Council have announced that the following services will now become cashless and chequeless:
parks and cemeteries fees
This will then be followed by further services covered by this cashless scheme, which will be explored by the Council following a successful roll out for the above services. Other payment methods being explored by the Council include using apps, as well as pre-paid cards.