For the first time, last year more payments in the UK were made electronically than with cash, according to figures from the Payments Council.
Of all payments made by British consumers and businesses in 2014, 48% - or 18 billion - were in cash, down from 52% in 2013.
However, while cash makes up just five per cent of payments from businesses, it still accounts for 52% of those made by consumers. Debit cards were used for 26% of consumer payments, direct debit for 10%, and credit cards six per cent.
Last year 1.6 million Brits - 3.1% of all adults - predominantly used cash. But nearly 40% of these are aged 65 or over and people under 35 are far more likely to use electronic alternatives.
There are big differences in payment methods at different types of retailers, with just a third of purchases at electrical goods stores made with notes and coins, compared to more than 80% at newsagents.
This is related to the fact that a quarter of all cash payments made by consumers are for less than £1 and more than half are for less than £5. This is expected to change with the rise of contactless cards and mobile payments as cash volumes are forecast to fall by 30% over the next ten years.