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Half of people foresee ‘cashless society’

Half of people foresee ‘cashless society’

Category: Money

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 03/08/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
Over half of people in the UK think that cash and notes will become a thing of the past, new figures show.

Debit card spending outstripped purchases with cash for the first time in 2010, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

Research conducted by Barclays has found that more than half of consumers think that the UK will become a 'cashless society' at some point in the future.

Over one in eight of us don't carry cash and half of us believe coins and notes will become obsolete in the future.

People shelled out £39 billion on the high street with debit cards in the first three months of the year - more than twice the amount spent on credit cards (£17 billion).

And advances in technology mean that contactless payments – where people simply swipe their cards to pay – are making it more convenient to pay with plastic.

In the coming years, it is also predicted that smartphones will act as virtual wallets, containing our debit and credit card details and allowing us to use them to verify payments.

The research found that the average British purse or wallet contains just £23 and the majority of us (57%) refuse to carry around one or two penny coins.

Half of us (50%) give away small change in some form - either to charity, to children, or simply by throwing it in the bin.

By contrast, a third (32%) of consumers prefers to pay by card because it means they never have to worry about carrying cash.

Additionally, 17% of people cite the ability to keep track of spending as a benefit of paying by card.

"Although we are far from becoming a 'cashless society', it's clear from our research that cash is no longer king.

"Consumers are increasingly less willing to carry large amounts of change around with them and many believe that coins will become obsolete in the future," said Richard Armstrong, head of UK payment acceptance at Barclaycard.

"It is clear that shoppers are now looking for alternative methods of payment - such as contactless - which will allow them to avoid spending time fumbling for change in a queue and will take up less space in their wallet."

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