Non-cash payments have overtaken cash payments for the first time as people become increasingly comfortable paying for goods without using coins and notes.
The Payments Council said that data it has collected shows that 48 percent of all financial transactions made by consumers, businesses and financial organisations in the UK are made with cash.
The rest was made up of ‘non-cash’ payments, which include everything from debit and credit cards to standing orders, internet and phone transactions and CHAPS transactions. These now represent 52 percent and have overtaken cash payments for the first time.
However, this is not to say that cash is on its way out completely, as data from LINK, which maintains the cash machine network in the UK, revealed that the number of ATMs grew last year to a high of 69,382. Over 50,000 are free to use.
Unsurprisingly it is consumers who still use cash more than businesses. Some 52 percent of all consumer transactions are made using cash, although the Payments Council expects this to drop below 50 percent next year.
This rise of non-cash payments, particularly online, comes amid wider reports showing that the uptake of online shopping is continuing to rise, especially on mobile and tablet devices as responsive websites and larger-screen devices make it easier to shop on the go.
The data is likely to be welcomed by firms such as Visa, which have said in the past that they want to do away with cash and help more people embrace digital payment systems.
The rise of mobile payment tools such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay will also help more people to become comfortable with the idea of paying for goods without having to use cash.
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