Cash payments begin to die out

The Payments Council announced recently that for the first time, UK consumers are making more non-cash payments than cash ones.

The figures published in May show that the total number of cash payments made by consumers, businesses and financial organisations in the UK fell to 48% last year, compared to 52% in 2013 [1].

This is the first time that ‘non-cash’ payments have outnumbered those made with cash. This reflects the trend of using debit cards, automated methods and contactless payments as the transition reflects the growth in technology. The contactless technology has been praised as it is not only quicker than cash but also easier, safer and more secure.

It is predicted that it will drop further in 2016, but there is no forecast that the UK would become a cashless society in the future.

The consumer reliance on cash is reflected with LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, which confirmed a peak in the number of cash machines across the UK – now at 69,382 [1].

At one point, it was predicted that cheques would die out, although they still account for 2% of the market [2].

David Hensley, director of payments industry body Cash Services, said; “cash remains a vital part of our day-to-day lives and is still the most attracted or only option in lots of situations. We continue to value notes and coins so highly for their familiarity and widespread acceptance” [2].

[1] Payments Council. ‘Cash overtaken by ‘non-cash’ payments in 2014’.

[2] The Guardian. ‘Card and automated payments overtake cash transactions for the first time’.