More people in the U.K. are paying with debit cards over cash for the first time.
According to The Guardian, consumers used their debit cards 13.2 billion times in 2017, an increase of 14 percent compared to the year before. The report by UK Finance, the trade body for the U.K. banking and financial services sector, also showed that the number of cash transactions fell by 15 percent to 13.1 billion transactions during the same period.
In addition, the use of contactless payment cards almost doubled to 5.6 billion transactions, with almost two-thirds (63 percent) of people in the U.K. now using them.
“Clearly the way we shop and pay for services is changing, but for millions of people in the U.K., cash still plays an essential role in their everyday lives. With bank branch closures on the rise and the U.K.’s free-to-use ATM network under threat, it’s vital these people are still able to access the cash they need,” said Gareth Shaw of Which?, a consumer advocate group.
Still, cash is the second most popular payment method, accounting for just over a third (34 percent) of all payments. Around 2.2 million customers mainly used cash for their daily shopping last year, even though nine out of 10 of them had a debit card.
But cash use is expected to continue to fall over the coming decade, with UK Finance predicting that cash will account for 6.4 billion payments, or 16 percent of all transactions, in 2027. Contactless payment is expected to account for 36 percent of the total, up from 15 percent in 2017.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “We’re far from becoming a cash-free society, and despite the U.K. transforming to an economy where cash is less important than it once was, it will remain a payment method that continues to be valued and preferred by many. These trends are likely to shift further over the next decade. Developments such as Open Banking are expected to bring extensive changes to the payments landscape, something that will likely shape how we interact with our money in the coming years.”