Ian Benn: Cashless society is moving closer

CONTACTLESS card payments have tripled, writes Ian Benn

UKs use of cashless payments currently remains modest in comparison to some other countries. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

So it’s true – cash is no longer king. Ingenico and YouGov just commissioned a survey that showed that nearly half (43 per cent) of UK consumers think that card/mobile payments will replace cash within the next ten years. A second survey across industry experts showed 71 per cent to be in agreement.

What is going on and why are we falling out of love with cash?

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It seems that we can’t get enough of quick, fuss-free payments, with use of contactless cards tripling in the UK over the last year. And now that the spending limit has gone up from £20 to £30, we now use contactless cards for more than 10 per cent of all the things we buy.

Despite these positive statistics, the UK’s use of cashless payments currently remains modest in comparison to some other countries. In many Nordic countries, cash payment is already seen as unusual. For years Swedish buses have not accepted cash and although they might have extolled the virtues of Money, money, money in their No.1 hit song, ABBA’s Stockholm museum does not accept cash either. Only 20 per cent of payments in Sweden were made using cash in 2014 and Denmark and Finland are not far behind.

However, the UK is beginning to catch up. From October this year all black cabs in London will have to take cards and there is a strong government push to integrate all transport payments. Big technology is playing its part too with ApplePay, SamsungPay, AndroidPay, and most recently AliPay, all bringing new choices to market while high-end grocer Waitrose has announced their first cashless store will be situated at Sky Headquarters.

Add to this ‘in-App’ payments from mobile devices and online purchases and it won’t be long until we see the UK conversation move from if to when. But meanwhile, if you happen to have any old cash you don’t want…

• Ian Benn, UK Managing Director, Ingenico Northern Europe