Consumers shunning cash to avoid Covid spread

A third of UK adults are avoiding using cash because of the risk of spreading the Coronavirus, according to a report.

Contactless payments have grown in popularity as people avoid cash.

The research from GoCompare Money found that since the UK went into lockdown, the use of ‘tap and go’ cards and online payments have outstripped the use of bank notes and coins. Meanwhile, 27 per cent of those surveyed said they have not shopped with cash at all during the pandemic.

The survey found that 76 per cent of consumers have used a contactless credit or debit card, 61 per cent have made a PayPal payment, 17 per cent have used a smartphone payment system and 15 per cent have used Bacs.

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Just under one in ten of people used a contactless card for the first time during lockdown, while seven per cent made a payment with their phone for the first time.

In April, as part of the measures to halt the spread of the virus, the limit for contactless card payments was raised from £30 to £45. However, a quarter of UK adults say would like to see the limit raised further. Of these, 27 per cent said they’d like the spending limit raised to £50, while 40 per cent would like to see it more than doubled to £100 or above. The average new limit, for those who want the maximum spend increased, was £76.53.

Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of GoCompare, said: “In early March, there were news reports about the spread of the Coronavirus on banknotes and coins. However, the Bank of England and the World Health Organization have stressed that cash doesn’t pose any greater risk than any other items and, repeated the advice on regular hand washing. However, from the results of our survey, it’s clear that many people remain concerned about the potential of money to be contaminated.

“With a lot of people using contactless and online payments for the first time and millions of us relying on them, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your finances by checking your bank and card statements. Regularly checking though your statements will help you keep abreast of your incomings and outgoings and help you spot whether any payments have been fraudulently taken.”

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