Cashless payments have overtaken the consumers’ penchant for notes and coins for the first time, according to the industry body.
The Payments Council said the use of cash by consumers, businesses and financial organisations fell to 48% of payments last year. The remaining 52% was made up of electronic transactions, ranging from high-value transfers to debit card payments, as well as cheques, said the BBC.
It is expected that cash volumes will fall by 30% over the next 10 years.
The Payments Council, which oversees the system of transactions, said that moves towards debit card, contactless and mobile payments would drive the move away from cash.
The rising dominance of online shopping and the introduction of new payment methods such as mobile and contactless payments have challenged the presence of cash in recent years.
“We know that 10% of Brits don’t carry any cash on them,” comments Dave Hobday, MD of Worldpay, the UK’s largest payment processing company. “When all the recent talk is around technology making payments fast, secure and convenient, notes and coins increasingly seem like something our children will laugh about in the future.
The Payments Council is predicting that among consumers alone, the majority of transactions will be cashless in 2016, partly because the younger generation is less reliant on cash.
“A recent study we conducted found 60% of 25-34 year olds would prefer never to carry cash. They want the freedom to buy what they want when they want it, regardless of whether that’s online or in a store. Cash puts barriers back up just when technology is punching a hole straight through them. Any retailer still clinging to the notion that cash will make a comeback is missing the biggest shift in the way we live our lives since the industrial revolution,” added Hobday.