A BREWERY is barring customers in its York pubs from paying by debit or credit card - despite millions of people in the UK hardly ever using cash any more.

Samuel Smith’s Brewery of Tadcaster has repeatedly hit the headlines nationwide for its bans on swearing, texting, emailing, mobiles, Ipads, Kindles and laptops in its pubs.

But its bar on card payments is less well known, even though one former Sam Smith’s pub manager has claimed that it had more impact on their ability to run their pub profitably than any of the other bans.

The ex-manager told The Press that the cash only rule was a particular problem for anyone wanting to pay a larger bill for a meal, rather than someone just buying a drink. “I always warned people booking a table to make sure they brought enough cash with them,” they added.

However, Mick Hilton, the landlord of one of the brewery’s pubs, the Brigadier Gerard in Monkgate, where a sign in the doorway reads: “Notice. We operate cash only. No credit or debit cards”, said he had a bar packed full of customers, who were happy to pay by cash.

He said he supported the brewery rule, asking why people should have to pay more for their beer so the card companies could benefit.

Other York pubs affected by the cash-only rule include the iconic Kings Arms on the riverside and the Burns Hotel in Market Street. The managers of both pubs declined to comment.

The apparent impact of the card ban first emerged in October when The Press was reporting on the closure of the Agar Arms at Warthill, near York, which was one of a number of Samuel Smith’s pubs to have closed its doors, at least temporarily.

Parish council chairman Paul Spetch told The Press then that he believed changes introduced by the brewery, including the cash only rule,were posing difficulties for landlords, with a party of diners, for example, having to have perhaps £100 in cash with them in order to pay for a meal.

UK Finance, which represents the banking and finance industry, said there were 5.4 million consumers who almost never used cash at all during 2018, instead relying on cards and other payment methods - up from 3.4 million consumers in 2017, "showing the growth in people who are living an almost cashless life".

A spokeswoman said the use of cards continued to grow through 2018 and cash payments fell by 16 per cent. The popularity of contactless payments continued to bolster card growth, she said. “More and more customers are now opting for the speed and convenience of paying with their contactless cards, or using mobile banking to check their balances and make transfers while on the move,” she added.

"This rapid rate of technological change is set to continue over the coming decade, as people embrace the ever-widening number of ways to pay and manage their finances, depending on their needs and lifestyle.”

New payment regulations introduced in January last year meant customers could no longer be charged a fee for opting to pay by card. A Samuel Smith’s Brewery spokesman was unavailable for comment.