1 in 5 Brits Wants Cash-Free Society, New Study Finds

 Wednesday, 12 February 2014

 T24 Prepaid

Cashless Britain, Cashless Society

Research by five of the UK’s leading banks has found that 18% of Brits would prefer to go completely cashless, opting for other forms of paperless payment including the more traditional card payments and more modern mobile-based solutions.

The study, conducted by consumer analyst firm Mintel, found that over a third (38%) were interested in mobile payments and that 8% said they were ready to sign up to and make the switch to such payment solutions immediately. Unsurprisingly, support for a cashless society was greatest in London, with 30% of those asked saying they were ready to give up cash altogether.

Director of research at Mintel, Toby Clark, said that Londoners were most keen as it already had the infrastructure in place for mobile payments, adding that “A major shift is on the horizon, and the integration of mobiles into payments has only just begun.”

“As mobile payment and wallet services become more widely available, and more intuitive and efficient to use, it will be difficult for consumers to resist adopting them.”

“While just eight per cent of Brits claim they would apply for a mobile payment system straight away, across an adult population of around 50 million adults, that still represents a potential user base of four million people: there is a huge market out there if providers are able to come up with a product that represents a tangible upgrade to existing technology.”

However, support is far less from those living in other parts of the UK, with only 13% those living in the South West and Wales wanting a cashless society, and just 14% for those in the North and Scotland.

Mr Clark said: “The fact that Londoners are most comfortable with a cashless society reflects the region's head start on the rest of the country in terms of payment system infrastructure and that new payment technologies, such as contactless cards, tend be launched in London first.”

“However, there are huge swathes of the population which remain attached to cash, and the reality is that cash still has a long life ahead of it.”

For the time being Cash is still king, being the most widely and frequently used method of payment throughout the country, with debit cards coming a close second.

Another interesting finding of the research was that as many as 1 in 50 Brits had never used a plastic card to make payment, that’s 2% of the entire population.

Mr Clark added: “It is not about any one payment method. People use multiple payment technologies, and if they can see a clear reason for changing their habits then they are willing to incorporate new ones, such as PayPal.”

“Use of a particular payment method is largely determined by context. Cash dominates for small transactions on the high street, but for online and for high value transactions, debit and plastic cards are the payment methods of choice.”