UK consumer use of cash slipped below the 50% mark for the first time in 2015 as alternative payment methods eroded the dominance of notes and coins.
The market share of cash payments across the wider economy first dropped below 50% in 2014, but with contactless card use growing in popularity among the general population, 2015 marked the first year in which consumers began to turn away from notes and coins for everyday purchases, according to new data from the Link ATM network.
While cash volumes in 2015 were still 70% more than the second most frequently used method - debit cards - just over 17 billion payments were made in cash, down by 6% on 18 billion in 2014.
During the last ten years cash payment volumes have reduced by 28%, says Link, which is forecasting a steeper decline over the coming decade, driven by cash migration to debit cards, increasing prominence of contactless payments and growth in mobile payment services such as Paym.
The ATM network is predicting a 34% drop in the number of cash payments to 11.3 billion by 2025.