UK Shoppers Use Cards More Than Cash for the First Time in History

By Nick Cowen on at

The digital age has gobbled up quite a few physical-world products. Why clutter up your house with CDs, DVDs and books when you can store them all on your laptop, smartphone or Kindle? Now, it seems, there's a new casualty: money.

While it doesn't look like paper money and coins are going to vanish completely – at least not yet – figures published by the Payments Council indicate that 52 per cent of British citizens and businesses are making payments with cards, smart-devices and online transfers rather than with, you know, actual money. It's apparently the first time the UK has paid more with digital payments than cash.

The Payments Council doesn't think that digital transactions will eradicate the need for cash. In its report it note that "despite the shift, cash remains the most popular way to pay among consumers, who used it for more than half (52%) of all their transactions in 2014. The current forecast is that this figure will drop below 50% next year (2016), but there is no prediction for cash to disappear".

The report also pointed to the increase in of free-to-use ATMs in the UK as one reason that Britain isn't well on its way to being a cashless country. Besides, we're rather fond of money.