A new independent review is to be launched in the UK to study the decline in cash payments and the rise of digital transactions.

The review will be chaired by Natalie Ceeney, former head of the Financial Ombudsman Service, and will investigate the impact on consumers over the next five to 15 years and examine future requirements and trends.  

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Ceeney said: “The rise of contactless and digital payments has changed the relationship between cash and consumers.

“Many people in the UK have already made a shift to paying for most things digitally, but at the same time, there are between two and three million people across the UK who are entirely reliant on cash.”

She has assembled a team including Lucy Malenczuk, senior policy manager at Age UK, and James Daley, managing director of the consumer group Fairer Finance, to come up with suggestions by early next year on how not to leave anyone in society behind during this shift in financial culture.

The review will be funded by Link, Britain’s largest network of cash machines, but is independent from it. Link says it will spend the following six months gathering information.

The ATM firm said consumer groups, community representatives, small businesses, the industry and general public will all be able to contribute their opinions and experiences.

In 2017, there was a 14 per cent increase in debit card payments compared to 2016, according to data from UK Finance, with the use of cash falling by 15 per cent.