Debit card sales overtake cash payments, says UK Finance

A study of how consumers are paying for goods by UK Finance has revealed that card payments have now overtaken cash for the first time.

With the proliferation of contactless payment, debit card transactions topped 13.2 billion, edging out registered cash payments at 13.1 billion.

Coming against a falling tide of cash payments, which are down 15%, Debit card payments rose 14% year-on-year. As many as 3.4 million consumers are now said to barely use cash at all.

Another boon for retailers comes from the revelation that contactless payments have almost doubled to 5.6 billion; in 2017 accounting for 15% of payments. This is predicted to more than double in the next ten years and that’s before online retail is taken into account, say UK Finance.

Younger consumers are the most likely to make contactless card payments and to shun cash use.

“The choice of payment options available in the UK is allowing people to choose to pay the way that best suits them,” said Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance.

“But we are far from becoming a cash-free society and despite the UK transforming to an economy where cash is less important than it once was, it will remain a payment method that continues to be valued and preferred by many.”