Despite recent changes to payment behaviour, 86 percent of Brits believe payment choice is very important, and 69 percent think that society is moving too fast towards becoming cashless, according to a newly-published report.
Commissioned by financial consultancy Enryo and using research from YouGov, the report states around 3.4 billion cash-based transactions took place in 2020, down from about 7.2 billion in 2019. However, it also estimates that there remain around 11.6 million Brits who continue to be frequent users of cash (defined as those who use cash every day, or at least more than once per week).
As the impact of COVID-19 lessens, the report predicts a gradual return to normal spending activity that will see cash transactions rise in 2021 and 2022. Looking farther ahead, it envisages cash usage being around that seen in 2020, when 22 percent of people used cash frequently, 27 percent used it at least once a fortnight, and the remainder used it only rarely.
The report suggests there is no typical profile of a cash user, since there are many different reasons people choose cash over other payment options. It did, however, observe that frequent cash users were more likely to be people on lower incomes, the elderly and those living in Northern Ireland and the north of England.
It notes that—unsurprisingly—pandemic lockdown restrictions heavily impacted high street businesses, which in turn altered spending patterns. Overall, people made fewer payments as there were fewer opportunities to spend, with 41 percent of people doing more online shopping and 34 percent saying they made fewer day-to-day transactions using any payment method. 21 percent of people reported wanting to use cash, but ending up using a card as they were ‘encouraged to do so by retailers’.