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STUDY: Rise in cashless payments more prominent in certain UK regions and industries

Updated: Aug 29, 2023



The rise of cashless payments has become a prominent trend in recent years, with fewer consumers opting to pay with cash. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this growing preference, BusinessComparison conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults to explore the frequency of cashless payments. They also gathered the latest available data on this topic.


The survey results revealed that cashless payments accounted for a significant portion of total transactions in the UK, making up 67% of the total payments during a 12-month period. Out of a total of 30,914 million payments, 20,722 million were cashless, indicating an average of 455.32 cashless payments per person.

Examining the data on a global scale, it was found that Europe witnessed a staggering 180,147 million cashless payments in the year 2020 alone. This accounted for one-fifth of the world's total cashless payments during this time period.


Looking specifically at the payment methods used in the UK, the report highlighted that 17,522 million debit card payments were recorded, alongside 2,851 million credit card payments and 345 million delayed debit card payments.


Interestingly, despite the popularity of cashless payments in the UK, the survey indicated that 44% of respondents had used cash for transactions within the last week. While it might not be the preferred method of payment, it is clear that many individuals continue to rely on cash to some extent.

On a regional level, 62% of respondents from Wales and 51% from the North West of the UK stated that they still used cash for their transactions. This suggests that cash remains the preferred method of payment in certain parts of the country, but the shift towards cashless transactions has undeniably increased.

When asked why they chose to pay with cash, the top responses from the survey participants were as follows: 30% mentioned that it was for a small purchase, 29% stated that they wanted to utilise the cash they already had, and 15% mentioned that the business only accepted cash.

Additionally, the survey found that 17% of respondents expressed a preference for paying in cash, highlighting a clear shift in payment preferences. It was also interesting to note that 15% of respondents resorted to using cash because it was the only accepted payment method. This indicates that with the rise of cashless payments, more businesses are likely to move away from cash-only transactions.

Lastly, when asked about their most recent cash payments, 11% said they had paid in a cafe or deli, while 9% mentioned using cash in a restaurant. This data suggests that within the hospitality industry, cash continues to be the preferred payment method for some customers.

As the focus on cashless payment transactions continues to surge, it is evident that cash is gradually becoming less popular among consumers. However, it is worth noting that cash still maintains its relevance in certain industries and regions.

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