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68% of UK consumers believe cash is king

Survey finds UK continues to use cash in majority of transactions despite business push towards card payments.


68% of UK consumers believe cash is king

Survey finds UK continues to use cash in majority of transactions despite business push towards card payments.

An independent study* commissioned by retail and banking solutions provider Wincor Nixdorf has revealed that cash is still the preferred payment method for 68% of the UK population. Calling into question the belief that a move to a cashless society is imminent, the study also indicates that financial control is a key factor in the continued preference for cash transactions.

Of the consumers questioned, 58% save cards purely for large transactions and almost a third (32%) feel more in control of their finances when paying by cash. With businesses pushing towards more card-based transactions such as contactless payment, the study highlights the work that still needs to be done to convince consumers that card payments are a more effective option for everyday transactions.

“What’s clear from this study is that consumers don’t want to be forced into one payment method. They want a choice and cash is currently the preferred option for the majority of people,” commented Ed Brindley, Director of Marketing at Wincor Nixdorf. “Although there are benefits to card payments in certain situations, such as increased payment speed for larger transactions, consumers are not convinced by the cashless model and that’s unlikely to change overnight. The challenge for retailers and banks is therefore to find a way of managing all the various payment methods, from cash to debit and credit cards, as efficiently as possible. This will ensure consumers are offered the payment options that meet their requirements, be it exerting more control over their spending or greater convenience. In order to adopt a cashless society, the industry needs to not only ensure the infrastructure and technology is flawless, but also convince consumers that cards offer the same benefits as cash.”

The survey also concurs with the recent decision to cancel plans to abolish cheques, with those surveyed questioning the practicalities of a sudden change to payment methods. However, the survey did reveal that if the right infrastructure was in place, 63% of respondents would be happy to move towards a cashless society where cards were the only payment method and cash was simply not an option. In addition, the overwhelming majority (81%) stated they would make more use of cards for everyday transactions if offered an incentive by businesses, such as a discount on purchases or extra loyalty card bonuses. 

*The survey consisted of 2006 UK consumers aged 16+ and conducted by independent research company TNS.

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