ATM network Link has launched an independent review to explore how the shift from cash to digital payments in the UK retail sector is affecting consumers and small businesses.

The Access to Cash review will be led by former head of the Financial Ombudsman Service Natalie Ceeney and will be conducted over the next six months.

Industry bodies, small businesses, community representatives and the general public will be invited to contribute to Link’s review and examine the future spending habits of people across the country.

Link will also look at the impact of new payment technologies over the next five to 15 years and whether the current payment infrastructure needs to change to support consumers and businesses.

Commenting on the review, Ceeney said: “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 to three million people across the UK who are entirely reliant on cash.

“Over the next decade and beyond, we will see significant changes driven by technology, and we need to ensure that we consider now how these will affect different segments of society, and plan so that no-one is left behind.

She added: “The Access to Cash Review’s main objective is to identify what is needed by way of an effective and inclusive cash access service that meets the needs of all consumers, regardless of their personal circumstances.”

On July 24, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) announced that it would carry out its own market review into card-payment services to ensure they work in the interests of retailers.