Convenience of debit card payments puts cash in second place
At the end of 2017, UK consumers made 13.2 billion debit card payments compared to 13.1 billion cash payments
Almost two thirds of Britons now using contactless payments as the number of payments doubles in one year
Evolving consumer habits, increasing access to card payments and new technology are providing consumers with more choice
Despite this, cash is predicted to remain the second most frequently used payment method in the UK in 2027
The popularity of contactless payments, online shopping and smartphones is having a significant effect on how we manage our money and pay for things, leading to debit cards overtaking cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to the latest research from UK Finance.

The latest UK Payment Markets report shows how new technology, payment innovation and changing consumer habits contributed to 13.2 billion card payments at the end of 2017 overtaking cash payments (13.1 billion) for the first time. This beats previous forecasts by one year when debit cards would overtake cash within one year. In comparison, cash payments were down 15 per cent year-on-year.

The popularity of contactless payments among UK consumers is a key driver of debit card growth. In total, across both debit and credit cards, the number of contactless payments increased by 97 per cent during 2017 to 5.6 billion. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of people in the UK now use contactless payments, and no age group or region falls below 50 per cent usage.

An increasing acceptance of card payments by smaller businesses and people becoming ever-more comfortable and familiar with the speed, ease and security of making low-value payments has also made the use of debit cards more popular. By the end of 2017 there were nearly 119 million contactless cards in circulation and, with customers and businesses increasingly choosing to use contactless cards and card acceptance devices, it is anticipated 36 per cent of all payments across the UK will be contactless in 2027.
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Download the UK Payment Markets 2018 – Summary

UK Finance
18th June 2018


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