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Cashless payments reign supreme in UK

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Non-cash payments exceeded cash payments for the first time ever last year, according to a study issued by the UK Payments Council.

Businesses, consumers and financial organisations cumulatively made 19.8bn payments via cashless methods over the course of last year, against 18.3bn cash payments. While rumours of the outright death of cheques appear to have been greatly exaggerated, cheques account for a mere 2 per cent of payments overall.

The study also quizzed UK consumers on their payment habits and preferences, and found that cash remains the most popular way to pay for a majority of respondents – despite only 1.6m predominantly using cash, versus 2.3m rarely or never paying using notes and coins.

Nearly 40 per cent of those who depended on cash payments were aged 65 and above; 50 per cent of those who used it infrequently were aged under-35. A quarter of the payments made via cash totalled £1 or less; 56 per cent totalled £5 or less.

The Payment Council had not foreseen cashless payments overtaking cash until 2016 at least; however, the organisation have now offered an adjusted forecast, which predicts that cash will account for around 30 per cent of payments within the next decade.

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

For more information on the future of cashless payments, click here.

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