New Data Shows 79% Decline In UK Cash Transactions

A new report by UK merchant service provider, Paymentsense, reveals a sharp decline in consumer use of cash by 79%, accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following a 60% decrease in the use of cash machines in April 2020, Paymentsense analysed their unique data over the last 6 months to find out which UK cities used contactless and digital payments the most, and had the highest year-on-year (YoY) increase.

The findings have been mapped and the UK’s Capital of Contactless Card payments is ready to be revealed.

The study reveals the city of St Albans, Hertfordshire, is the UK’s Card Payment Capital for an exponential increase in the use of contactless. A huge 86% of payments in St Albans were made by contactless cards since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with a significant YoY increase of 19%.

The northern town of Halifax was second with 84% of payments proving contactless (+13% YoY) followed by Brighton, boasting 82% of cash-free transactions (+12% YoY).

Londoners most likely to opt for tech-savvy Apple & Google Pay

An overwhelming 79% of Brits are estimated to own a smartphone. So, with Covid causing businesses to refuse cash, digital contactless payment technologies like Apple and Google pay are on the up. London leads with an 8% increase in usage over the last six months and +5% between 2019 and 2020.

Durham were still least likely to part with their cold hard cash with only a 6% uplift in contactless payments since 2019. Whilst Bolton natives were less likely to use Google and Apple Pay, accounting for the smallest growth in adoption of contactless payments, just 2% more between 2019 and 2020.

Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insight at Paymentsense said: “Coronavirus has undoubtedly forced change in our lives and shopping habits. As more businesses refuse cash as a precaution against Covid, it makes perfect sense that the use of contactless cards are on the up this year, more than ever.

Our findings confirm that major cities are transitioning to a cashless society at a rapid pace. However, as we’ve seen with St. Albans it isn’t just the UK’s big cities going cash free; smaller towns are increasingly choosing contactless methods. With the pandemic ongoing, it seems that a cashless Britain may be here sooner than we thought.”