The UK will abandon cash within 20 years

Following the figures from the UK Cards Association (UKCA) that reveal contactless spending went mainstream in 2015 with £7.75 billion being spent using contactless cards, compared to £2.32 billion in 2014, it shouldn’t be surprising that people’s outlook supports the figures. A new study commissioned by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional company, found that the majority of Londoners believe the UK will be cashless by 2036.

Over two-thirds of respondents (68%), surveyed by YouGov this month, said they believe that cash’s time in the country is limited, with only a quarter (27%) disagreeing. Five percent said they don’t know.

graph showing predictions made by Britons about payments in the future

Source: London & Partners


Britain loves to do the contactless tap

The biggest driver of this move away from cash has undoubtedly been contactless payments. The UK has responded exceptionally well to the technology. Naturally the capital has been leading the charge with highly successful integrations into its transport network. In January, contactless represented a quarter of all pay-as-you-go transactions on TfL and that number is bound to go up as mobile payments get a big boost through the launch of Android Pay in the UK. However, more recently, it’s been noted that other cities up and down the country are keenly adopting contactless tech.

The likes of Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Edinburgh have all seen huge increases in contactless spending over the last year, according to Barclaycard research.


Businesses must stay on top to please customers

Howard Berg, SVP, UK & Ireland at Gemalto says that findings such as these reveal the rising confidence people have in newer technology. However, he stresses that companies must do more to cater to customer needs:

“Consumer confidence in contactless payments is growing every year, but for this to reach the next expected level businesses must develop the availability of the necessary form factors to adhere to consumer needs. Whilst we still see cards as the front runner, consumers are looking for adaptability of payment across a range of devices included wearables and mobile devices depending on which situation they are in.

 “As well as integrating those form factors, for contactless to take that next step, manufacturers need to be able to develop sound security strategies in this growing market.”


Internet-connected clothes?

Another interesting prediction that the British public made was about clothes. Over half of respondents (57%) believe that by 2036 we will wear clothing that is connected to the internet. That is a fascinating concept in terms of payment opportunities. In recent times we have already seen jackets, watches, bracelets and rings become contactless payment form factors.


What about 2025?

We’re impatient over here at PaymentEye and want to see what will be your main way of paying in 2025! Cast your vote!


Related reading