Figures published today show that the total number of cash payments made by consumers, businesses and financial organisations in the UK fell to 48% last year (from 52% in 2013).
This is the first time that ‘non-cash’ payments have exceeded those made with cash, reflecting the steady trend to use automated payment methods and debit cards rather than pay by notes and coins. However, cash remains the most popular payment method by volume, followed by the debit card, which accounted for 24% of all payments last year.
Despite the shift, cash remains the most popular way to pay among consumers, who used it for more than half (52%) of all their transactions in 2014. The current forecast is that this figure will drop below 50% next year (2016), but there is no prediction for cash to disappear.
This continued consumer reliance on cash is also reflected in figures available from LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, which show that the number of cash machines across the country grew last year – reaching a new peak of 69,382.
The number of free-to-use cash machines also increased in 2014, reaching 50,506, following an increase of 5.2% during the year, and surpassing the milestone mark of 50,000 for the first time.
With more cash machines available, as well as the majority being free-to-use, the total number of people using cash machines continues to grow year-on-year. Most people who used a cash machine in 2014 used them often, with 91% of us withdrawing cash from an ATM at least once a month.
* Non-cash payments are comprised of: cheques; debit, credit and charge cards; Direct Debits and Direct Credits; standing orders, internet and phone transactions made via Faster Payments and CHAPS transactions.