Visa Europe: 17 million UK workers frustrated by cash payments

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17 million UK workers are frustrated by the inconvenience of cash payments according to the Working Day Spend Report, released by Visa Europe. With 23% being regularly caught out by not having enough cash on them to make a particular payment and 30% having to ask a taxi to deviate from its journey in order to stop at a cash machine, workers regularly find paying with cash a nuisance.

Although cash usage has dropped overall in the last five years and cards are widely accepted, Brits still rely on cash for smaller payments. That’s despite nearly half (46%) admitting they are quick to spend the cash they have in their wallet, leading to two thirds (66%) withdrawing cash at least once a week. The report also reviewed what UK workers spend their money on, how much they spend and what payment methods they use. Brits spend an average of £10.59 on small and regular purchases throughout the day, the equivalent of £2,541.60 every year. One third of respondents admitted that they do not budget for this everyday expenditure.

“I think a lot of people still use cash for certain purchases out of habit, even though they find it annoying,” says Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director at Visa Europe. “Paying with a contactless card is faster and safer than fiddling around with coins and carrying a wad of cash, and it makes it much easier to manage your money. Every transaction appears on your statement, so you can stop asking yourself where that last twenty pounds went – the answer’s right there.”

The research also found that the way workers spend varies across the UK. London workers use cash the least with just over half (55%) using it to buy lunch, showing that faster payment methods are being embraced more quickly in the capital. In contrast 81% of Glasgow workers use cash to buy lunch, leading to over half (55%) often getting frustrated by having to wait to pay in store. Manchester workers struggled worst with cash machines with 40% noting it was a challenge to find a cash machine nearby and nearly a third (32%) finding having to queue for a cash machine a frustration.

“There’s no need for people to be frustrated by cash,” adds Alzetta. “You can already make contactless payments at more than 300,000 places in the UK – not just in retailers but also on London buses and taxis. That means workers don’t have to worry about being caught out without cash any longer.”

According to the report, the average UK worker carries less than £25 in their wallet at one time and withdraws cash at least once a week.

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