Half of consumers think cash will be obsolete in 20 years - survey

Half of consumers think cash will be obsolete in 20 years - survey

With Brits increasingly turning to cards, cash could be obsolete by 2030, according to 52% of users of discount Web site MyVoucherCodes.

The survey of 1938 people shows 71% prefer to pay for items in store using a card rather than cash, with just 14% choosing notes and coins as their ideal method.

Over a third of respondents say they 'rarely' carry cash around with them. Nearly half feel safer without cash on them and 82% agree it is 'easier' just to carry a card.

Although cards, and to a lesser extent mobile devices, are currently usurping cash, 11% of those quizzed think that using some kind of iris recognition scanner could be a possibility by 2030.

Cash may be losing popularity but it is holding up better than the cheque, which 83% of respondents claim not have used at all in the past five years.

Farhad Farhadi, MyVoucherCodes, says: "I think it is quite possible that notes and coins could be obsolete within the next twenty years, as debit cards were only introduced in the mid-70s and since then paying by plastic has drastically increased in popularity. I wouldn't rule out the idea that in a couple of decade's time, we won't use cash anymore."

Earlier this year, consumer association Consumentenbond claimed that the Netherlands could be cash free within five years as the Dutch migrate to cards and mobile payments.

A major argument in favour of ditching cash is the expense - according to a report published February by Retail Banking Research which claims using notes and coins costs every person in Europe EUR130 a year.

Comments: (1)

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 14 July, 2010, 11:23Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Given the cost to the economy of processing cash, stories like this one will definitely make people outside our industry sit up and take notice, but I think if you did a similar piece of research among bankers or merchants, we'd probably see different results.

We're definitely reducing the number of cash transactions, and a lot of innovations and new technology we have seen over the past few years, such as debit cards, contactless, mobile or even the Faster Payments scheme, are driving that change in behaviour. These provide initial key elements of an electronic payments framework that has the capability to replace cash use, but will legal tender be obsolete in 20 years? Personally I doubt it.