Cash payments overtaken by card for the first time ever

Card payments have become the most popular form of payment for the first time ever, as cash payments continue to decline.

According to new data from UK Finance, cash payments dropped by 15 per cent over the last year to 13.1 billion, while a boost in card payments in the final quarter saw them pull ahead for the first time with 13.2 billion.

A huge increase in contactless payments helped tip the balance over 2017, rising 97 per cent to 5.6 billion, with an estimated 63 per cent of UK adults now using the technology regularly.

Although the popularity of card payments is expected to continue to increase, cash is not set to disappear any time soon.

Roughly 2.2 million people are thought to use cash as a main source of payment in their daily shopping, and it is still expected to be the second most popular form of payments in a decade.

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

“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.”

Barclaycard’s business development director Adam Herson added: “More recently, we have seen a surge in the use of wearable and mobile payments, creating new, exciting opportunities for both shoppers and brands.

“Consumers are increasingly able to match their payment accessory or device to their lifestyle or fashion taste.”

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