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Cashless Society

Our Survey Reveals The UK’s Attitudes To Cashless Payment Methods

There’s absolutely no doubt that cashless payments have become an extremely popular method of payment, from everyday purchases to bigger buys. The ease, ability to better track what you spend and the added security of not having to carry physical cash around, are all major plus points for using contactless cards and mobile payment options.

But just how many people prefer using these options on a day to day basis? Are older generations starting to go cashless for their purchases? Do people think cash will soon be a completely outdated payment option?

We’ve got the answers for you. We conducted a survey of almost 3,000 UK adults to reveal the nation’s attitudes on cashless payments, and who would be in favour of living in a completely cashless society.

Cashless Society Survey - An Overview

The survey, of 2,800 respondents analysed data from males and females aged between 20 and 80, from regions across the whole of the UK.

Our findings show that a whopping70% said they preferred using cashless payment methods over physical money, and that a third of UK adults only withdraw cash once a month or less. 68% of respondents also said that using non-cash payment methods helps them keep track of what they’re spending.

A massive 80% of respondents stated they have at least one card stored on their smartphone to make payments with and 46% said they would leave their homes without cash and would be happy to rely on their mobiles for payment.

Despite this, it appears that a completely cashless society is not yet to everybody's taste in the UK, with 41% saying they believe they will never be without tangible cash, and less than 1% of people in the UK are completely ‘cashless’ at present.

Generational Differences

It was no surprise that more people in the younger age brackets preferred cashless payment methods to older generations:82% of 20-30-year-olds compared to 68% of 60-70-year-olds.

That figure for the latter is still a higher percentage than many would have expected, perhaps showing the strong growth in popularity and wider appeal cashless methods now have in UK society.

However, younger respondents are more likely to think cashless payments help keep track of their spending –76% of 20-30 year-olds prefer cashless compared to 57% for 60-70 year-olds.

While this is still a high percentage for the older age bracket, it could be seen to highlight the differences in the way the two use technology, with many in the older range not using banking apps or mobile payment methods to track their spending like their younger counterparts are more inclined to do.

When it comes to cash withdrawals, the 20-30 age bracket infrequently visit the ATM, in fact only 15% never take out cash, compared to 9% of 60-70 year olds.

Younger people are also more likely to leave the house without cash in favour of their phone with 67% of 20-30 year-olds answering yes, compared to only 27% of those aged 60-70.

The use of mobile payments is where the big difference was found. 23% of respondents aged 20-30 use their mobile as a payment method on the majority of purchases compared to just 6% of 60-70s. Older generations were also the most likely to have no cards stored on their smartphones.

Interestingly, middle-aged people (40-60) were the age group who were most likely to say cash is the most efficient payment method available to them. 27% of this age group said they used chip and pin for their purchases, compared to 10% of those aged 20-30.

Gender Differences

When analysing the data from men and women, we found very little disparity. 71% of men prefer cashless payments, compared to 68% of women.

Males were also more inclined to think that cashless payments help keep track of their spending. But hey – some of us don’t want to keep track!

Despite this, 45% of women said they’d never be completely cashless. Afterall, you never know when you’ll need 20p for the loo.

This was slightly higher than men as 38% claimed they’d never be completely cashless.

Regional Differences

Across the UK, Nottingham had the highest preference for cashless payments compared to any other city, with a huge 87% in favour of them over physical money. People in West Yorkshire and Wakefield had the lowest on this question with just 20% preferring cashless payment methods.

A huge number of areas, such as Harlow and Hounslow had a 100% response rate of ‘yes’ when asked if they believe that cashless payment helps them to keep track of their spending. This was the case for 36 different cities across the UK, which demonstrates a huge preference for cashless payment methods across the country.

We found that people from Luton love keeping cards on their mobile with an average of 5 per respondent! At the other end of the spectrum, half of the respondents in Inverness and Slough said they had no cards stored on their phones.

Aberdeen residents were the most concerned about becoming completely cashless, with 74% of respondents in the area stating they would never want to be part of a completely cashless society.

In comparison, 18% of respondents in Swindon believe they may be cashless as soon as this year.

Device Differences

When it comes to attitudes towards cashless payments, there was a huge disparity between iPhone and Samsung users. Our findings show iPhone users( 51%) are much more likely to leave the house without cash - opting to rely on smartphone methods instead, compared to Samsung users, with just 33% stating they would be happy to leave the house without cash.

Those with Samsung devices were also slightly more inclined to believe they will never be completely cashless compared to iPhone users with the former having a figure of 45% compared to the latter’s 40%.

*Survey conducted by Buymobiles in February 2022 and gained 2,870 responses.


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