Cash payments continued to fall in 2019

04 Jun 2020

The use of cash continued to fall in the UK last year as card payments accounted for over half of transactions for the first time ever, according to figures from UK Finance.

Cash payments decreased by 15% to 9.3 billion payments, but cash was still the second most frequently used method, representing a quarter of all payments in 2019.

Changing retail trends, including the increasing use of online shopping and the increase in card acceptance by retailers, have been a factor in both the declining use of cash. In addition, consumer preferences are changing in favour of using cards to make payments.

Payments made by card and contactless methods accounted for 51% of all UK payments last year.

Debit cards were the most used payment method in the UK with 17 billion payments, of which seven billion were contactless.

Commenting on the figures, Natalie Ceeney, Independent Chair of the Access to Cash Review, said: 'In 2019 we saw a further decline although many people still depend on it.

'This UK Finance data was taken before the impact of COVID-19, which has accelerated the shift to digital payments and further challenged the viability of the cash infrastructure.

'It's essential that we ensure that everyone is included in our economy, and until digital payments work for everyone, we need to maintain people's ability to access and pay with cash.'


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