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UK: cash overtaken by ‘non-cash’ payments in 2014 for first time

For the first time in the UK ‘non-cash’ payments have exceeded those made with cash, reflecting the steady trend to use automated payment methods and debit cards rather than pay by notes and coins. However, cash remains the most popular payment method by volume, followed by the debit card, which accounted for 24% of all payments last year.

UK Payment Council 2014 data shows that:

  • overall total cash payments were overtaken by non-cash[1] payments (48%) in July last year (from 52% in 2013)
  • despite a steady decline in total cash volumes, it is still king with consumers, who use it for more than half of all their transactions

2014 consumer and business payment volumes by method

Source & Copyright©2015 - UK Payment Council

Cash is still king for consumers

Despite the shift, cash remains the most popular way to pay among consumers, who used it for more than half (52%) of all their transactions in 2014. The current forecast is that this figure will drop below 50% next year (2016), but there is no prediction for cash to disappear.

2014 consumer payment volumes by method

Source & Copyright©2015 - UK Payment Council

This continued consumer reliance on cash is also reflected in figures available from LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, which show that the number of cash machines across the country grew last year – reaching a new peak of 69,382.

2024 forecast

The steady decline in the use of cash in the UK is shown in the table below. By 2024 the UK Payment Council predicts that cash transactions will be less than half of all transactions.

Total volume of payments/year

Source & Copyright©2015 - UK Payment Council

[1] Non-cash payments are comprised of: cheques; debit, credit and charge cards; Direct Debits and Direct Credits; standing orders, internet and phone transactions made via Faster Payments and CHAPS transactions.

CTMfile take: Cash, as we wrote on 11 May, is on decline, but won’t disappear. It will for some types of consumer and business, never-the-less many segments will use it for ‘ever’.

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