Is cash on the way out?


Is cash on the way out?

When you pop to the shop for a couple of items – perhaps the ingredients for your evening meal – how do you pay for it? Do you pull out your debit or credit card, or are you more likely to use cash? Maybe you make up part of the £1.5 billion spent using contactless in March 2016 alone.

Well, you might be interested to hear that new research from Payments UK suggests debit cards and contactless payments will overtake notes and coins by 2021.

Far from a cashless society

2015 was the first year ever that cash was used for less than half of all payments made in a year. In 2005, 64% of all payments were made by cash, but this has dropped to just 45% in 2015.

There’s a clear steer towards digital payment methods over this time, with over one billion contactless purchases made in 2015, and an increase in debit and credit card payments of 10% and 9% respectively on the previous year.

But is a cashless society really on the horizon? Well, maybe in the future, but not for quite some time. Although newer technologies like debit and credit cards are commonplace now, and we’re seeing even more modern ways to pay in the form of contactless and Android and Apple Pay, cash looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Similar things were said about cheques in 2009, when the Payments Council suggested they be taken out of circulation by 2018. But we can now see cheques are taking longer to die than many expected, with 546 million of them written in 2015 alone.

New technologies paving the way for the future

Cash does have its practical uses, but newer technologies are offering shoppers quicker and more convenient ways to pay.

When you can simply tap your credit or debit card onto a reader to quickly make a purchase, it’s exciting to think about where the technology will take us next. 10 years ago, not many of us would have predicted that you would be able to pay for a pint of milk with your mobile phone.

If you haven’t yet had a go at paying with contactless, why not give it a try? The Ocean Credit Card has contactless technology, so you can pay for things with a simple tap of your card – as long as it’s less than £30. Many shops, restaurants, cafés and bars have contactless readers now, and you can tap your card on a reader on the London Underground to save precious time on your daily commute.

Where do you think the technology will take us in the future? Do you think cash is here to stay, or will everything be digital at some point? We’d love to hear your views, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.