Figures from the Bank of England suggest that we have an ongoing attachment to cash. Indeed, the value of bank notes in circulation increased by six per cent last year with the £20 note representing two thirds of all notes in circulation. Cash is still
a comfortable, physical way to manage money that is institutionalised not just in the UK, but across the world.
That said, you can’t ignore cashless developments. From January to March this year, there were 2.4 billion debit transactions and 741 million credit card transactions. What’s more, Britain is currently the contactless payment capital of Europe – issuing
contactless cards which accounted for 52.6 million transactions worth more than €330 million in March alone this year.
We expect choice in how we perform transactions with convenience, speed and efficiency as key factors. Cash ticks the boxes with these factors with widespread acceptance and familiarity. With cash available from a national network of nearly 70,000 ATMs,
either in your high street bank or from your local shop or petrol station, it’s clear that there is a continuing appetite for cash.
The Payment Council recently announced that cash remains dominant accounting for 48 per cent of payments by volume in 2014. It also expects that the volume of cash will continue to account for over a third of all consumer payments by 2024.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that cash still has an ingrained societal pull which is unlikely to be replaced entirely by more innovative payment methods. Although many new payment options are proving disruptive in the market, the majority of us
are still using cash for everyday transactions alongside new cashless payment methods. It also seems the industry agrees - with the arrival of polymer notes and the new £1 coin design for 2017 it seems that the desire for physical money is here to stay for
some time to come.