2018 could see ‘peak cash’ as debit cards take over

Data gathered by the UK Finance suggests the UK is about to move beyond ‘peak cash’ in 2018 as notes and coins are replaced by alternative payment methods, particularly in cities, according to the Guardian.

It is expected that debit cards will overtake cash as the most frequent payment method later this year. The volume of cash withdrawn from ATM machines is falling steadily, as consumers use card payments for ever smaller transactions such as the purchase of coffee or beer.

In 2006, 62% of all payments in the UK were made using cash. By 2016 that proportion had dropped to 40%. It is predicted that by 2026 cash will be used for just 21% of all payments, according to UK Finance figures.

In 2016 there were 2.7bn cash withdrawals from the UK’s 70,000 ATMs. This is the lowest number of transactions since 2010. The amount withdrawn is dropping rapidly; in 2016, £6bn less was taken out compared to 2015.

According to figures from the Bank of England, the volume of cash typically increases each year but it is currently increasing at the slowest rate since 1972.

Countries such as Canada and Sweden have led a move away from cash, with debit cards, credit cards, phone payments, online transfers and apps being used instead.