Card payments dethrone cash on UK high streets for first time

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Debits cards have overtaken cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK, new data has revealed.

According to UK Finance, the popularity of contactless payments, online shopping and smartphones have played a significant role in seeing debit cards become the most popular method of in-store payment.

The latest UK Payment Markets report reveals that there were 13.2 billion card in 2017, while there were 13.1 billion cash payments during the same period. It is the first time card payment has surpassed cash.

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This beats previous forecasts by one year when debit cards would overtake cash within one year. In comparison, cash payments were down 15 per cent year-on-year.

According to UK Finance, the popularity of contactless payments among UK consumers is a key driver of debit card growth.

In total, across both debit and credit cards, the number of contactless payments increased by 97% during 2017 to 5.6 billion. Almost two thirds (63%) of people in the UK now use contactless payments, and no age group or region falls below 50% usage.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The choice of payment options available in the UK is allowing people to choose to pay the way that best suits them.

“But we’re far from becoming a cash-free society and despite the UK transforming to an economy where cash is less important than it once was, it will remain a payment method that continues to be valued and preferred by many.

“These trends are likely to shift further over the next decade. Developments such as Open Banking are expected to bring extensive changes to the payments landscape, something that will likely shape how we interact with our money in the coming years.”

Tags : debitpaymentretailUK Finance
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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