According to official data, one in 10 adults in the UK are now opting for a largely cashless lifestyle, as the popularity of mobile and contactless payments is ballooning.
The data showed that for those aged between 25 and 34, more than one in six people (17%) were found to have shifted to a cashless life, according to the banking body UK Finance. The institution defined a cashless existence as when people either do not make use of cash at all, or conduct only one payment involving cash per month, the Guardian reports.
Elsewhere, the number of contactless payments in the UK jumped by 31% in a year, hitting 7.4 billion in 2018. It was found that for every 10 people in the UK, roughly seven of them use contactless. London however, which once led the cashless craze, has been surpassed by the south-east, East Anglia and the Midlands.
Contactless payments were found to be the least popular in the north-west region of England, the data showed, with 58% of citizens making use of this type of payment in 2018, versus a 70% and over figure in areas such as the south-east, the Midlands, London and Wales.
UK Finance noted that the north-west was at times slower than other regions in the UK when it came to welcoming new technological developments. Asked for comment, the financial body said that this might be related to the fact that older populations tend to reside in those areas of the UK, with Blackpool last year posting the most ageing population compared to other UK major cities. UK Finance also pointed out that the north-west included deprives zones and vast rural areas, such as the Lake District.
Payments made in cash continued to tumble in 2018, decreasing by 16% to 11 billion, meaning that banknotes and coins were used for only 28% of all transactions. This was a large drop from the 60% recorded 10 years earlier. UK Finance forecasts the figure to sink to a mere 9% by the year 2028.
According to the banking association, cash remained the second most popular mode of payment in the UK, surpassed by debit cards in late 2017. However, the financial body predicts credit cards and charge cards to overtake c ash by 2027.
A review compiled in March this year showed that over 8 million adults in Britain would find dealing with a cashless society rather arduous. On the other hand, the government confirmed last month that 1p and 2p coins, and £50 banknotes were no longer at risk of being banned, after plans to consider making them obsolete awakened criticism.
UK Finance’s chief executive, Stephen Jones, said: “Technology is not for everyone, and cash remains a payment method that is valued and preferred by many, so maintaining access to cash will be vital to ensure no customer is left behind.”
As per the findings, of the 1.9 million customers that were found to be utilising cash in 2018, most were often people with lower wages.
The number of customers who “almost never used cash at all” rose by 2 million in a year – from 3.4 million to 5.4 million – the data revealed.
Furthermore, nearly one in six UK adults are now subscribed to some form of mobile payments service, up from 2% recorded in 2016.