Card payments now ‘more popular’ than cash in UK, study suggests

The number of debit card payments made in the UK overtook the use of cash in 2017, a new report has revealed.

According to data from banking trade body UK Finance, consumers made approximately 13.2 billion debit card payments in Britain last year – up 14 per cent on the number of card payments recorded the previous year.

In comparison, the number of payments made using cash fell by 15 per cent to reach 13.1 billion, the report said.

It argued that the rise in popularity of contactless payments led to a ‘tipping point’ in the final quarter (Q4) of 2017.

Throughout the year, some 5.6 billion contactless payments were made on both debit and credit cards, with the average UK adult making at least nine contactless payments per month, it said.

63 per cent of Britons used contactless payments on a regular basis, most often in supermarkets, on public transport, to pay car parking charges or to make ‘spontaneous’ purchases.

Meanwhile, approximately 3.4 million Britons ‘hardly used’ cash at all during 2017, the report said.

The news comes shortly after separate research published earlier this year found that some 2.6 million UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not currently accept credit and debit card payments.

It argued that, in failing to do so, many UK SMEs are putting themselves at a ‘competitive disadvantage’.