Pub claims to be first in the UK to stop taking cash

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cashless pub: the Boot has become the first pub in the UK to stop taking cash payments, according to its operator
Cashless pub: the Boot has become the first pub in the UK to stop taking cash payments, according to its operator
The Boot in Freston, near Ipswich in Suffolk, has become the first pub in the UK to go cashless, according to its operator.

In the absence of tills at the Suffolk pub, which dates back to the 1530s, customers must pay by either card or phone, with no minimum spend per transaction.

The pub, which includes a 12-seater outdoor cinema, had been derelict for nine years before new operator Mike Keen took it on and refurbished the site before reopening it at the start of summer 2018.

Having researched other cashless businesses, including delis before reopening the Boot, Keen – who pays 1.5% per card transaction – found very few downsides, adding that insurance premiums are lower for his pub given no cash is kept on the premises.

Speaking to ITV, Keen explained: "The benefits of going cashless are huge.

"Cash has always been a pain. You’ve got problems with theft.

"The banks charge a fortune for you to pay cash in, they take a cut of everything you pay.

“You have to organise change, go into town, park and queue up – which is another security risk – or pay a firm like Securicor to pick it up."

Keen’s system of card machines is backed up with dongles in case they experience any issues with internet connectivity. "We’ve used them but we haven’t gone down yet,” Keen told ITV.

"If there was a negative, it would be some people who are used to paying with cash are a bit taken aback when they haven’t got the option, but everyone has a bank account,” he added.

"You would expect it (the first pub to go cashless) to be in London, but we pipped them to the post."

As reported by The Morning Advertiser​, the number of card payments overtook cash for the first time ever in June following a 14% increase​ in the number of debit card payments coincided with a 15% decline in the number of cash transactions. 

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