Cash is no longer king - survey

Cash is no longer king - survey

Brits now prefer to use plastic cards for paying for everyday purchases rather than notes and coins, according to a new survey by personal finance Web site, Motley Fool.

The survey of 2039 users of the Fool site found that 32% use their credit cards regularly for everyday spending. Debit cards account for over a third (37%) of spending, while cash accounts for a quarter (29%).

According to the survey, 19% of people use cash and cards interchangeably, while 16% say debit cards are the most convenient way to pay. About one in ten say they use plastic to help keep tabs on spending.

David Kuo, head, personal finance,, says: "Plastic can be fantastic, but relying on money we can't see is a reflection of how easy it has been to rely on credit in recent years. But since you are not paying in cash, it is all the more reason to take care as credit becomes more difficult to obtain."

The research also suggests the ATM use is declining, with nearly half of respondents (47%) withdrawing money once a week or less. On average, people carry £33 at any given time, with a third of people carrying less than £10. Men carry £40 in cash on average - twice as much as women.

The amount of cash we carry increases proportionally with age, with those aged between 18 and 24 only carrying around £14 - compared to £43 for those over 58. The poll also suggests older people prefer getting their money from a cashier rather than ATM.

The Fool findings contrasts research released last year by UK payments association Apacs which showed that cash still accounted for 63% of all day-to-day payments by volume in 2006.

Cash remains particularly popular for low-value payments - over 96% of all payments under £5 in value were made with cash in 2006, said Apacs.

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