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Brits shunning cash due to fear of Covid spread

Written by: Emma Lunn
Warning to check bank statements as millions rely on contactless and online payments during the pandemic.

Research commissioned by GoCompare Money found that a third of UK adults are avoiding using cash because of the risk of spreading coronavirus.

The research found that since the UK went into lockdown, the use of contactless cards and online payments have outstripped the use of bank notes and coins.

In fact, 27% of those surveyed said they have not shopped with cash at all during the pandemic.

Since lockdown was introduced most people have opted for ways of paying for goods and services without the need to handle cash or touch card PIN-pads.

The survey found that 76% of consumers have used a contactless credit or debit card, 61% have made a PayPal payment, 17% have used a smartphone payment system, and 15% have used Bacs.

Nearly one in 10 (8%) people used a contactless card for the first time during lockdown, while 7% made a payment with their phone for the first time.

Only half of those surveyed said they have made debit or credit card payments requiring a PIN. A significant minority (14%) said that they no longer carry cash, and 16% said they would be happy to live in a cashless society.

Contactless limit

In April, as part of the measures to halt the spread of the virus, the limit for contactless card payments was raised from £30 to £45.

However, a quarter of UK adults say would like to see the limit raised further. Of these, 27% said they’d like the spending limit raised to £50, while 40% would like to see it more than doubled to £100 or above. The average new limit, for those who want the maximum spend increased, was £76.53.

While contactless payments are now the preferred way of paying for many people, the fear of fraud remains a big issue for some.

Nearly a third (29%) of those surveyed were worried about the risk of fraud in connection with contactless payments and digital wallets.

Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of GoCompare, said: “In early March, there were news reports about the spread of the coronavirus on banknotes and coins. However, the Bank of England and the World Health Organization have stressed that cash doesn’t pose any greater risk than any other items and, repeated the advice on regular hand washing.

“However, from the results of our survey, it’s clear that many people remain concerned about the potential of money to be contaminated. With a lot of people using contactless and online payments for the first time and millions of us relying on them, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your finances by checking your bank and card statements.

“Regularly checking though your statements will help you keep abreast of your incomings and outgoings and help you spot whether any payments have been fraudulently taken.”

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