Wallets and purses are going the way of the dinosaur, at least in the U.K., according to a new study by Mastercard.
In a press release, the credit card issuer said it found that, on average, Britons have less than £5 in cash on them with two in five people, or 43 percent, saying they keep less hard cash in their pockets than they did two years ago. What’s more, the survey found the number of transactions being made with cards has leapt by more than 9 percent each year since 2013, totaling 17 billion transactions in the U.K. last year.
At the same time, one in 10 people have given up carrying a wallet or purse and instead keep just a credit or debit card in their pocket. A further quarter (24 percent) are keen to stop hauling a wallet or purse around with them. The trend is hardly surprising, said Mastercard, as people’s wallets and purses are bursting with 44 items, on average, other than cash — around half of which are either out of date or go unused. According to Mastercard, one in five people go a year or more without emptying out the junk from their wallets, hoarding everything from old receipts and expired coupons to out-of-date cards and travel tickets. Men were found to be the worst hoarders overall, with a quarter admitting to waiting a year or more before having a wallet clear-out, compared to one in 10 women.
Overall, half of Britons (47 percent) typically have less than a fiver on them. The most common amount was found to be between £1 and £5, with a third of people (33 percent) falling into this category. This rises to 44 percent among those aged 25 to 34. More than one in 10 (14 percent) of people have no cash at all in their wallet or purse. “We’re in the midst of a period of unprecedented change for payments,” said Mark Barnett, president of Mastercard U.K. and Ireland, in the press release. “Cash usage is being buffeted by the dual forces of increased online expenditure and consumers embracing the convenience, speed and security of card and digital payments. This trend is also reducing the amount of cash businesses need to handle and process, which is time-consuming and an often overlooked cost.”