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Cash use still prevalent in the UK

Research by UK Finance suggests that despite debit card payments overtaking cash payments, cash still remains the second most frequently used payment method in the UK. The research shows that while the steady rise of card and mobile payments in the UK mean that cash use is falling every year, cash still accounted for 28% of payments in 2018.

This figure is a 16% drop from the 44% figure of 2017, and seems to be a result of older generations showing progressively more acceptance of new payment technologies. For example, 61% of over-65s made contactless payments in 2018 – a 10% increase on 2017. In addition, cash use is continuously being challenged by the popularity of mobile payments - by the end of 2018 an estimated 8.5 million people in the UK were registered to use mobile banking services on their phones.

Maintaining a system of free to access cash in the UK is necessary, not only to protect vulnerable groups, but also to protect consumers and businesses during IT failures when cash is the only option. In order to ensure that the UK remains inclusive and that all customers’ lifestyle needs are fulfilled, access to cash remains vital. Although new technology means cash is set to face ongoing competition in the future, the research from UK Finance also predicts that cash will still be used for 10% of payments even in a decade’s time.