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Manager of The Crown pub in Perry Street, Gravesend, still only takes cash

Cash or card? A question many of us expect to hear when we're buying our shopping or treating ourselves to an evening out.

But what about the businesses that are sticking to the past and only accepting notes and coins? One Kent pub is doing just that.

The Crown pub in Perry Street
The Crown pub in Perry Street

The Crown, in Perry Street, Gravesend, has never taken a card payment since it opened in 1833.

Manager Carol said the pub will never have a card machine as long as she's there.

The 69-year-old said: "We prefer cash at the pub because you can't get scammed.

"We check the notes, we know exactly what we're getting and customers know exactly what they're spending.

"When you pay by card lots of things can go wrong with the machine, they may not load or connect to the internet and sometimes they decline.

"If you have the cash to pay for your drink there is no risk of a payment failing.

"We will never take card in The Crown, not as long as I'm here. I have no worries about that moving forward."

Carol's comments come after a supermarket left people queuing outside over an issue processing card payments.

She's worked at the watering hole for the last six years and opposite the establishment is a Tesco Express and Co-op store which both have cashpoints.

She added: "We are a pub full of regulars so everyone knows the drill.

Carol, manager of The Crown in Perry Street
Carol, manager of The Crown in Perry Street

"However, if some new faces appear we explain the situation and they're always happy to withdraw money, we never get any complaints."

The Crown isn't the only business in the road that refuses cards.

Raina Ludlow, owner of The Master Barbers, has been cutting hair for the last 21 years. She too only accepts cash payments.

The 61-year-old added: "Most people know to use the ATM across the road before coming to me.

"When your business has a card machine it takes a percentage of your earnings.

The Master Barbers in Perry Street
The Master Barbers in Perry Street

"Because of that I chose not to have one, I want to keep all of the little profit I have."

The Kelvinator Launderama is a coin-operated laundrette.

Inside are industrial washing machines that only accepts coins.

Instead of updating the machines to take contactless payments, one worker – who did not wish to be named – said that customers know what to expect so bring the necessary currency.

She said: "Everyone that uses our services gets that they only take coins, we have the occasional person expecting them to take card.

The Kelvinator Launderama in Perry Street
The Kelvinator Launderama in Perry Street

"However, people usually come prepared so there isn't really a problem."

Despite this there are many other businesses along the road that are heavily dependent on card payments.

The owner of Perry Street Flowers has had a card machine since she started the business 24 years ago.

She said: "Other florists don't have card machines and I wonder how they survive.

"I have orders from people across the phone so I have to have a way of taking those payments remotely.

Perry Street Flowers is a florist shop in Perry Street
Perry Street Flowers is a florist shop in Perry Street

"I guess it depends on the business but I wouldn't last without card payments."

The Pelham Arms, at the top of Perry Street, began taking card payments four years ago.

Barmaid Jacqui Reed has been at the popular drinking spot for eight years.

She said: "About 65% of our customers pay by card, that includes a lot of older people as well which is surprising.

"The pandemic definitely pushed the card payment trend but we made the decision to get a card machine just before that as we had so many customers asking if they could pay by card or Apple pay."

Jacqui Reed, a barmaid at The Pelham Arms, Perry Street
Jacqui Reed, a barmaid at The Pelham Arms, Perry Street

Jacqui also explained how the pub's card machine helped an elderly pub goer from being scammed.

She said: "This guy had tried to pay for his drink by card but the machine declined it and up popped an error statement that told him to get in touch with his bank.

"When he called them it turned out his card had been cloned. He wouldn't have known that without our card machine so in that sense cards also help people protect their money."

Jacqui said a very small percentage of their profits is taken through the card machine charge, however it doesn't make a dent to their income.

A new business owner in Sittingbourne agreed and explained how their card machine takes just 1% of their earnings per transaction.

The Pelham Arms in Perry Street
The Pelham Arms in Perry Street

Cheran’s Bakery, in West Street, opened three months ago and accepts both card and cash payments.

Run by mother-of-two, Cheran Friedman, she said: "A lot of people use cash for their own benefit, even though we do take mostly card payments.

"Many customers are shocked when they hear that we take cash as well, I don't understand why business owners wouldn't give shoppers a choice, it makes no difference to us."

However, despite these positive opinions on cards, some of The Crown's customers still think a cashless society is a bad move.

Carer Claire Gemmell, from Singlewell, withdraws all her cash whenever she is paid.

Claire Gemmell, a carer from Singlewell, Gravesend
Claire Gemmell, a carer from Singlewell, Gravesend

The 41-year-old said: "Seeing the cash helps me budget.

"I never have money in my account, it is always in my purse.

"Although cards can be good for internet shopping we shouldn't just get rid of cash altogether.

"I think people's opinion on cash or card is also a generational thing, both options should both stay."

Lauren Hicklin agreed.

Claire Gemmell, 41, a carer from Singlewell, always carries cash
Claire Gemmell, 41, a carer from Singlewell, always carries cash

The 30-year-old mum said: "I think when you're on a night out and you're tapping your card at a bar it is easy to lose count.

"Cards don't make you feel like you're spending money, but they can be beneficial in other areas. We should always have the option to use both."

Construction worker Ricky Darlington hates the thought of a cashless society.

The 43-year-old, who also lays Tarmac, said: "Cards are controlling and an inconvenience.

Ricky Darlington, 43, hates the idea of a cashless society
Ricky Darlington, 43, hates the idea of a cashless society

"When I get paid I take all my cash out, I've never trusted banks.

"Having cash on you is easy and if I go to a shop that only takes card I take my custom elsewhere."

The issue of a "cashless society" has been brought into sharp focus recently – particularly when it comes to parking.

Residents in Whitstable blasted the "ageist" payment system at a coastal car park, where visitors can only pay over the phone, or via an app.

And a similar system at De Bradelei Wharf in Dover has seen the shopping centre's takings fall 40%, according to bosses.

The introduction of RingGo at Seasalter has angered the older generation
The introduction of RingGo at Seasalter has angered the older generation

Lloyds Bank says more than 90% of consumers turn to contactless when eating out, with a similar number using the technology for their trip to the supermarket.

September marks 15 years since the introduction of contactless payment cards and in a study surrounding the payment method it was revealed that the contactless option had grown in popularity since pandemic.

According to new data the average spend on debit cards made in person, using contactless technology, has grown from 65% to 87% in the last three years.

Gabby Collins, payments director for Lloyds Bank, said: “The convenience of a contactless payment is clear when you look at the growth in this type of payment over time, with 87% of face to face debit card transactions now made using the technology.

"We know how important choice is for customers, so our mobile app gives customers the option to set their own contactless limit, as well as turn the option on and off.

"We’ve seen around 800,000 customers use the tool since we introduced it in 2021.”

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