Cash overtaken by non-cash payments for the first time

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For the first time, in July 2014, non-cash payments made by businesses, consumers and financial organisations overtook cash payments.

The Payments Council published the data today, which revealed that the total number of cash payments made last year fell to 48 per cent. It was 52 per cent for the same period in 2013.

This is the first time that non-cash payments have surpassed cash payments highlighting the rate at which the UK is adopting new payment methods and moving away from traditional cash and coin.

According to The UK Card Association, £380.8m was spent in the UK in December 2014 using a contactless card. This marked a 25.8 per cent surge on the previous month and 330.8 per cent over the whole year.

However, despite the 4 per cent drop in cash payments, the method is still the most popular by volume. Over half of all transactions made by consumers were cash payments ((52 per cent). Debit card was in second place with 24 per cent of all payments made in 2014 being made on one.

But the cash payment volume will also start dropping, with the Payment Council predicting that the figure will drop below the 50 per cent mark in 2016. However, it also moved to dispel the idea of cash becoming extinct.

It supported this by citing a LINK report, which found that the number of cash machines nationwide increased in 2014 to 69,382 – the most there have ever been.

With the increase of free cash machines, more and more people are withdrawing cash every year. 91 per cent of people withdrew cash at least once a month in 2014.

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