Cash will be almost entirely abandoned in the UK by 2024 as the pandemic saw the use of physical currency drop by 11 per cent.
New data from payments giant Worldpay and FIS suggests that just seven per cent of all purchases in the UK will be made via cash in three years’ time.
This is a dramatic decline from just two years ago (2019) when 27 per cent of point-of-sale purchases were paid for with cash, dropping to 13 per cent in last year.
“This research shows the speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behavior in just 12 months,” Worldpay’s EMEA general manager Pete Wickes said.
“The decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated, and while this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimize and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked.”
A recent string of initiatives have been launched across the UK, designed to protect the estimated 10 million people who still rely on cash, largely made up of elderly and low-income citizens who may not have access to bank accounts.
Recent research from merchantadviceservice.com, suggested that over half of UK businesses would like to see cash payments removed entirely from their day-to-day trading, laying bare the scale of the shift away from physical money.
Free-to-use cash machines are also disappearing from the UK, providing further hurdles for those who rely on physical currency, seeing 10,000 disappear over the past two years.
To address this issue, a new “click & collect cash” trial was launched in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent earlier this year.
This experimental new service will allow customers to see which local shops have cash available and then pre-order it for pickup via an app.
They will then be able to collect the cash free of charge without any obligation to make a purchase.