The future is mobile: Phone payments to overtake cash

Here’s why

As the recently launched iPhone X makes mobile payments even easier with Face ID, MoneySuperMarket reveals that a quarter (23 per cent) of Generation Z predicts physical cards will soon be obsolete as mobile payments reign supreme. 

  • Mobile phone payments soar 300 per cent yearly as part of the contactless revolution 
  • Generation Z predicts mobile payments will overtake cards
  • Over half of Brits admit they would be happy if the UK became completely cashless
  • News comes as Apple releases the iPhone X with Face ID payment

The new report by the price comparison website shows that contactless payments have doubled since last year, as we increasingly lose contact with cash – with 75 per cent of people withdrawing less cash today than they did 12 months ago.

The number of contactless payments has doubled in one year alone, now making up 30 per cent of the nation’s purchases compared to just 16 per cent a year ago, as card transactions soar to a record 1.4bn yearly.

The study also reveals that Brits now make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) every day, showing that mobile and contactless payments are rapidly overtaking coin and paper money as our preferred way to pay.

The report shows that a quarter of Generation Z (those aged 18 to 24) expect mobile payments to overtake other payment methods, four times more than the over 55s (six per cent).

Younger people are also more likely to lose count of how many contactless payments they make, with 15 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds admitting they can lose track of contactless spending, compared to just two per cent of the over 55s.

Sally Francis, money expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Cards have been overtaking cash as our favourite way to spend in modern day Britain for some time now, but what’s more surprising is the growing role mobile phones are playing in how we’re paying. 

“With the latest industry research suggesting over half (55 per cent) of all transactions are non-cash, it’s clear that the nation’s relationship with cash has changed.

“While we don’t see coins and paper money disappearing overnight, it’s clear that advances in payment technology, such as being able to pay for items with facial recognition - means we can expect the nation’s spending habits to keep evolving with the times.”

You can read more about the study and the UK’s relationship with cash by visiting MoneySuperMarket’s “Losing Contact with Cash” page.

The demise of cash

According to MoneySuperMarket’s research, over half of Brits (53 per cent) would react positively to the UK becoming increasingly cashless, suggesting they’d be happy with the change. 

With the huge growth in popularity of alternative payment methods such as mobile wallets (Apple Pay and Android Pay) and contactless cards, it’s not surprising that over a third of Brits have already adopted the cashless life, using these alternative methods whenever possible.

The future generation is spearheading the change, with nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of 18 to 24-year olds predicting that we will eventually pay for everything with our phones, rendering physical cards obsolete, as opposed to just 6 per cent of the over 55s.

However, just over a quarter of Brits said they would disapprove of a move towards a cashless society, citing the preference to use cash “on occasion”. Even for those who approve of the move, a small proportion (17 per cent) admitted they’d also miss paper notes.

Withdrawing cash

Only six per cent of those surveyed claimed to have withdrawn cash to counter their concerns around card security, compared to 38 per cent of Brits who reported withdrawing cash for no specific purpose other than to have it on them to pay for small ticket items.

The latter response could perhaps be attributed to age; over half of the over 55s regularly withdraw cash, in contrast to less than a quarter of 25 to 34-year olds.

Looking at the statistics regionally, Scots are most likely to withdraw money regularly (45 per cent). The South East, on the other hand, is the least likely to do so, instead preferring to use alternative payment methods (29 per cent). 

Regardless of what type of spender you are, it’s important to make sure you have the right card that matches your buying profile.

MoneySuperMarket’s website offers guidance on finding cards that pay interest and offer benefits and rewards packages, meaning you can take advantage of certain product benefits if you’re using the card regularly. This also applies in the credit cards space, where consumers can use the Smart Search facility to compare the best 0 per cent purchase credit cards, without it harming their credit score.

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