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UK card payments now outnumber cash

(Image credit: Image Credit: Jarmoluk / Pixabay)

Debit card payments have overtaken cash for the first time as UK consumers turn to contactless payments for their day to day purchases. 

According to the banking trade body UK Finance, last year 13.2bn debit card payments were made in the UK which is up by 14 per cent when compared to the previous year. Consumers have not gone all in when it comes to contactless and 13.1bn cash payments were made during the same time as the use of physical notes and coins fell by 15 per cent. 

UK Finance's report also shed light on the fact that the UK is a nation of spontaneous spenders with only 15 per cent of the 38.8bn payments made in 2017 were for bills and other regular commitments. Contactless is being widely adopted by consumers who made 5.6bn payments using the technology last year. Supermarkets, public transport and parking are where contactless cards are used the most often.

Contactless cards accounted for 15 per cent of all payments in 2017 but UK Finance predicts that this figure will rise to 36 per cent in the next decade. 

Consumers between the age of 25 and 34 were the most likely to make contactless payments and those who have decided to forego using cash entirely are most likely to come from this demographic. 

While contactless has become the preferred payment method for many in the UK, Visa's recent hardware failure which took its systems offline has shown that the technology is still far from perfect. 

Image Credit: Jarmoluk / Pixabay

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.