Cash was first used for less than a quarter of all payments last year, new figures show, as people often opt for debit cards and contactless to pay instead.
The percentage of all banknote and coin payments fell to 23 percent in 2019, according to trade organization UK Finance, down from 48 percent in 2014.
Instead, consumers increasingly paid with contactless credit and debit cards, using card payments to make more than half of all payments for the first time last year.
Last year, the use of cash continued to decline, in particular debit cards and contactless payments continued to gain at their expense
Debit cards became more popular than cash three years ago, and UK Finance last year predicted that by 2028, cash would account for only 9 percent of all transactions, with even direct debits making up more.
Although UK Finance has set aside future forecasts this year due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are fears that the virus could lead to a greater decline in cash use than previously expected.
Already, 14 percent of people in 2019, an estimated 7.4 million British, said they made one or no cash payments per month, compared to 2.9 million in 2016.
While the merchant body rejected the idea of a “ cashless society ” and an estimated 2.1 million people still used mostly cash, up from just 600,000 people in 2016, contactless use has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic and government guidelines mean some companies already began to refuse cash payments.
Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the Access to Cash review, said: “This UK financial data was taken before the impact of the corona virus, which accelerated the transition to digital payments and further challenged the viability of the cash infrastructure.
“It is essential that we ensure that everyone is part of our economy, and until digital payments work for everyone, we must maintain people’s ability to maintain access to and payment with cash.”
In 2019, for the first time in 2019, less than a quarter of all payments made up
Fear of banknotes and coins that spread the virus forced those who were already concerned about the disappearance of access to cash on the defensive, as withdrawals during the coronavirus lock were in Britain.
Last week, This is Money reported that NoteMachine, one of the largest ATMs in Britain, launched a ‘Cash is Safest’ campaign targeting the public and retail, with CEO Peter McNamara telling us that cash is a dirtier payment method used to be.’ the biggest fake news currently floating around. ‘
Nonetheless, cash use is declining – even before Covid-19 – with younger generations, in particular, unlikely to use physical money to pay for things.
A quarter of 25 18-24 year olds and 24 percent of 25-34 year olds used cash once a month or less, UK Finance said.
Research has often found that British people use less cash because they are concerned about the potential health risks, something that could continue after the pandemic ends
John Howells, Link’s chief executive, who manages the UK ATM network, called for legislation to keep money “as long as it is needed.”
He said, “Less than ten years ago, cash was used for more than half of all payments. Still, we’ve seen a decline in the number of ATM items expected in five years in the past five months – we think it may now be as low as one in ten payments.
“During the lockdown, we saw a big drop in ATM volumes, by 55 percent, and as these numbers start to rise again, Link study due to coronavirus shows 54 percent of consumers say they will use more and a third card that they will use fewer ATMs.
“Nearly £ 1.5 billion a week is still being withdrawn from ATMs, and millions of people are not yet ready to go cashless. What is needed now is legislation to keep money for as long as it is needed. ‘
Contactless has grown in popularity in recent years. Nearly four in five people in the UK paid contactless last year
With cash becoming less important, contactless payments seem to be the main beneficiary.
Even before the limit was raised to £ 45 in April, more than a fifth of all payments were made via contactless last year, up from 15 percent in 2017.
Nearly four in five people made a contactless purchase in 2019, up from 69 percent the year before.
Mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay are most popular among millennials
Last year, at least 68 percent of all age groups used contactless, and even nearly seven in ten over-65s.
However, the use of eWallet payments like Apple, Google or Samsung Pay was still predominant among younger generations.
Nearly two in five of 25-34 year olds were registered for mobile payments last year, compared to 5 percent of those over 65.
UK Finance CEO Stephen Jones said, “An increase in the ways of paying coupled with the change in people’s payment habits may inadvertently have been a way of preparing the nation for the impact of coronavirus on their daily lives.
“With consumers who have already made more use of contactless payments and online banking than in previous years, these technological developments have made it possible for many people to shop safely and pay at home or in the store.
The impact of coronavirus can accelerate these habits for many customers.
However, we are well aware that not all customers are digitally enabled and that is why we are committed to ensuring that people have access to cash and that daily banking services remain available to help the country through these difficult times. help out.’
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