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UK Insights

39% of Brits would stop using cash for payments

Kirsty Cooke

UK Editor

Economy 13.04.2018 / 08:00

money-cash-currency-uk

A Kantar TNS survey has revealed that young people in particular are prepared to embrace new ways of paying.

The death of cash has been talked about for a while, and when contactless credit and debit cards were introduced, many thought the death knell had indeed sounded. But as of the last quarter of 2016, cash was used in the majority of transactions in the UK, and mobile payment technology has certainly not yet become commonplace.

A recent survey by Kantar TNS for Business Insider has shown, however, that the British public are willing to let go of cash. 17% of British adults ‘definitely’ envision going completely cashless, and a further 22% think it is ‘likely’ to happen in the future. The number rises amongst those aged between 18 and 34 (to 26% ‘definitely’ and 32% ‘likely’).

Asked ‘Can you envisage yourself ever using exclusively cashless modes of payment in the future?’, just 12% of those surveyed said they would ‘definitely not’, and 18% said it was ‘not likely’ they would ever stop using cash.

Those aged over 55 were most reluctant – 45% said definitely not or likely not. By contrast, in the 16-24 age group, just 15% of those surveyed thought a cashless future was out of the question.



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Another divide exists between regions. 50% of those in London could foresee going totally cashless, compared to just 35% in the North East and Yorkshire. Only 21% in London believed it wouldn’t happen; the number was 39% in the North East. Scotland and the South East of England were not too dissimilar to London – 40% of people in each region felt a cashless future was likely or definite.



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Interestingly, men surveyed were more likely to envisage a cashless UK, with 45% saying they could definitely or likely envisage going exclusively cashless, compared to 34% of women.

Celene McCaffery, Client Services Director at Kantar TNS, comments: ‘Whilst consumers can envisage a cashless future, this really timely piece of work by Kantar Research Express highlights that certain segments of society would really struggle with the notion of going cashless and payment providers need to be mindful of this. Ultimately, however, payment methods are driven by businesses and the payment companies that serve them – consumers will have little choice but to react to the payment methods presented to them in the future. A number of airlines are now cashless, with BA leading the way in this area, many schools insist on biometric systems for catering, and plenty of digital businesses have been cashless for a long time. Whilst consumers are right to be expecting change, I feel a completely cashless future is still some way off, but certain areas will become cashless more quickly than others.’ 

While cash may still be used the most frequently, the last few years have seen the volume drop – now cash is used in 40% of transactions, and most commonly for items under £5. The chief cashier of the Bank of England doesn’t believe cash is going anywhere, but sadly the stats, and the attitudes of consumers, suggest that it might be usurped. 

Source : Kantar TNS

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