Is the UK ready to go completely cashless?

15 Apr 2020

Cashless payment A recent study compiled by Merchant Machine has examined which countries in Europe are leading the way in the cashless trend. 

The study analyses which European countries are most willing to go completely cashless, and which one utilize non-cash payments the most. 

UK-based ATM operator Link has revealed that over the last few days, cash withdrawals have dropped by half, as people are more encouraged to go cashless in order to curb the coronavirus pandemic from spreading further via cash usage. Furthermore, the shutdown of several shops and retail services means that people are turning towards e-payments, thus spending less in-store. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has encouraged people to wash their hands after handling cash. Despite the warning, people are still choosing contactless transactions over cash. But where in Europe are people more inclined to go completely cashless?

The Netherlands ranks at the top spot as the most cashless economy in Europe. Over half of all payment transactions are contactless, with the country also home to the highest debit card ownership – 99%. 

Holland is also home to the lowest number of ATMs per 100,000 people, and the highest Digital Readiness ranking. However, despite the country being the most cashless economy in Europe, the study reveals that only 23% of the population would be prepared to go completely cashless.

The Czech Republic registered the highest amount of contactless payment transactions, whilst Belgium had the lowest, at just 4%. 
Hungary ranked the highest in willingness to shift to completely cashless, with 44% of the population ready to make the move. This was closely following by Italy in second place with 41%, and Poland at 40%. In the UK however, a much lower 21% of citizens would be keen on opting for a completely cashless lifestyle – still within Europe’s top 10, but ranking the lowest within that bracket. 

Ian Wright, Founder of Merchant Machine says: “The way we make payments has been evolving over the last decade, but amidst the COVID-19 situation, cash usage has decreased even further as more people stay at home due to government measures, and using cash in fear of coming into contact with the virus itself.

This research reveals which countries in Europe would be able to transition into a completely cashless society. The results revealed that the Netherlands is leading the way when it comes to cashless payments, yet only 23% of its nation would want to go completely cashless. This raises the question of whether this attitude will change after the next few months as cash is being used less and less each day.”