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Most Brits still prefer to tip in cash

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The majority of Brits still prefer to tip in cash despite the boom in card and digital banking payments.

Despite the increase in card-only retailers and the move towards a ‘cashless society’, just over half (51%) of Brits prefer to tip in cash.

More than half (56%) also carry £20 or more in their wallet or have this amount of cash lying around at home.

Just one in 10 of the 2,101 people surveyed by YouGov for the Payment Choice Alliance were in favour of tipping staff using a card transaction.

However, seven in ten would like to see it being made a legal requirement for businesses to accept cash.

The research follows the Tipping Bill which came into effect in May 2023 where it was made unlawful for businesses to hold back service charges from their employees. The new law also gives workers to view their employer’s tipping record.

Convenience and freedom of choice key in cash use

Ron Delnevo, chair of the Payment Choice Alliance which campaigns for the right of the public to spend their notes and coins where they choose to do so, said: “We are often told by banks and card schemes pushing for the UK to become a so-called ‘cashless society’ that hardly anyone even carries cash anymore. The findings by YouGov rubbish such claims.

“The majority of people continue to carry cash – and most of those people prefer to tip using cash. The fact that as many as 71% of people support the idea of a new law to make accepting cash a legal requirement of doing business shows just how widely people in the UK are unhappy with any move towards a ‘cashless’ society.”

He added: “Whether it is convenience, freedom of choice, managing their spending or the understandable desire not to have their lives completely monitored and controlled that motivates them, it is absolutely clear the public want to be able to use their cash when and where they choose to do so.”

Cashless society uncomfortable idea for over 55s

Cash as the preferred spending method also largely appeals to older Brits. A recent study from Paragon Bank revealed that over two thirds of over 55s are uncomfortable with the idea of a cashless society.

Only a quarter (26%) viewed that prospect as a positive move, with a third believing it to be a negative idea.