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Digital cash and other payment myths

We’ve seen plenty of posts on this community that play with the idea of virtual currencies, the eradication of paper-based cheques and the ultimate demise of hard cash.

The emergence of a truly digital economy has been a favourite topic of commentators and futurists since the first stirrings of business interest in the Internet in the mid-1990s.

But for all the conjecture, consumer payment habits remain stubbornly resistant to change, a fact that has been emphasised in a new report from UK payments group Apacs. The Payment Myths booklet looks to “lift the lid on the ten most common payment myths and uncover the facts behind payments in Britain”.

Three in particular stand out:

Myth: People only use cash for small value items
Fact: Of all payments over £50, we are more likely to use cash than credit cards

Myth: No one uses cheques anymore
Fact: There is almost the same number of payments made by cheques as by credit card

Myth: No one is paid their wages by cash anymore
Fact: Nearly 2 million UK workers are still paid in cash on a weekly basis.

As Sandra Quinn of Apacs observes: "While new technology means we can now bank online 24 hours a day or have our groceries delivered with the click of a mouse, traditional methods like cash and cheques continue to endure.”

I suspect we’ll still be here in ten years time, pondering the arrival of the cashless society, while on the high street the cash tills continue to ring to the jingle of loose change and rustle of paper banknotes.


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Paul Penrose

Paul Penrose

Head of Research


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06 Oct 2006



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