Card Paying Overtakes Cash for the First Time

By Gary Cutlack on at

The number of payments made via debit card have overtaken cash transactions in the UK at last, with the new wave of just-working contactless debit card systems helping to make paying for stuff without using money more commonplace than ever.

Financial industry trade association UK Finance says that 13.2 billion debit card payments were processed last year; an increase of 14 per cent over the year before and raising the number of cashless transactions above the 13.1 billion real-money payments that were carried out. Cash buying fell by 15 per cent during the same period.

These numbers cover all transactions, physical and online. Using contactless options to hopefully tap a card machine has grown in popularity faster still, as we made 97 per cent more contactless payments in 2017 than in 2016; with 5.6 billion payments made in this exciting, does-it-really-work-even-here-in-this-regional-SPAR? fashion.

They say that 3.4 million consumers "almost never" pay for things in cash these days, with this predominantly young segment of shoppers lining up their avocados and iTunes credit cards at the self-service till and quietly tapping out. Just 2.2 million people self-identify as using mainly cash, with the average UK shopper making nine contactless payments each month right now. [UK Finance via BBC]