UK Consumers Not Ready To Forgo Cash, Even If They Hardly Use It

One in three Brits carry less than a fiver in cash, but a cashless society is not in the cards... just yet.

More than one in five British consumers are already convinced physical money will disappear in the next 20 years. More than 50% think digital wallets or online cash transfers will increase over the next few years. And one in ten would like to do all of their shopping online. But that doesn’t mean they are ready to move to a world completely devoid of cash. But that day may soon be coming.

As part of the “Future of Money” campaign from Skrill, one of Europe’s largest providers of online payment solutions, researchers found that cash is being replaced by more contemporary payment methods, such as credit or debit cards, as well as digital wallets and paying with mobile phones. Instead of paying for purchases using traditional notes and coins, Brits are now more likely to hand over plastic or make payments via the internet.

One in 20 claim they never carry cash on them, and 13% say they would be happy to give up cash today. A third (32%) of Brits think they will use less cash over the next ten years. They are already using cash to pay for less than a third of their weekly purchases.

The 2,000 Brits polled revealed that they are increasingly using alternative ways to pay, with 35% saying they get annoyed if a shop only accepts cash. Around a third (30%) say they use their debit and credit cards to pay for everything, regardless of how small the purchase value, and 13% said they even buy things they do not really need or want to take them up to a minimum transaction amount.

Less Cash in the Future, Just Not Cashless

The research also found that in the future, instead of paying for purchases using traditional notes and coins, people are increasingly more likely to make payments over the internet, such as with digital wallets — 37% of spending in the UK has already  moved online. A very significant 82% of respondents plan to shop online next year, and 38% will spend more online this year than last. One in ten (13%) would like to do absolutely all of their shopping online if possible.

Skrill discovered that 51% of people think digital wallets or online cash transfers will increase over the next few years, while 42% said they will make more payments on their debit cards.

Despite moves to new payment channels, there are some downfalls to not using cash. 19% of Brits admitted that using their credit or debit card makes it harder to keep track of their spending, with another 21% saying they are less likely to stick to a budget if they don’t pay with cash.

“Times are changing with cash, and even credit and debit cards increasingly making way for online transfers, digital wallets and payments via mobile phones or apps,” observed Siegfried Heimgaertner, CEO/Skrill. “Consumers are finding it quicker and easier to click a button than fumble with their change.”

Heimgaertner says the writing is on the wall: “With only 3% of payments in Sweden still made in cash, the coming years are going to see radical changes in this area.”

The Skrill research was supplied by OnePoll from an online survey of 2,000 UK adults weighted by gender, age and region.

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