Cashless payments surpassed cash as the most popular method for transactions in the UK last year for the first time, as Britain saw contactless sales reach €106.7 trillion in 2018. 

According to a report released by Merchant Machine, a merchant account and card payment fee comparison service, all cash payments involving coins and banknotes fell by 15% over the last twelve months, further highlighting the “growing popularity” of contactless transactions.

The UK is also leading the cashless payment race in Europe ranking first, with Germany following in second place reeling in €55.8 trillion euros in cashless transactions, and France in third place with €27 trillion euros. 

The report also revealed that particularly in the clothes and retail industry, contactless transactions “skyrocketed” by 321%, far ahead of all other business or services sectors. 

The sudden increase in popularity is due to the fact that contactless debit and credit cards provide clients with a simple and efficient means of paying for goods. 

“The popularity and preference towards cashless payments appears ever-growing. While so many are aware of the decline of cash usage and increase in card transactions, but this study helps to break down where these changes are most felt,” said representative from Merchant Machine Ian Wright in a statement.