Do you prefer credit cards to cash?


Is cash finally becoming a thing of the past? A new survey has revealed that Brits are significantly more likely to reach for a credit or debit card to pay for goods and services than cash. Researchers investigated British attitudes toward paying for small and big ticket items and found that, since the turn of the 21st century, Britons have increasingly turned to credit cards to fund purchases.


Just three in ten people prefer cash
The research from the Payments Council threw up some interesting statistics. 41% of people surveyed said that they would rather use a debit card or a credit card if they could, compared with just 31% of people who said they preferred to use coins and notes.

The research was commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of the UK's switch to decimalisation. In addition to discovering that debit and credit cards were growing in popularity, the Payments Council found that, with increased money education and new technological advances, the use of cash is likely to decline further over the coming years. Mobile phone-based payments and an increase in the number of contactless credit cards are also likely to make paying with plastic even more attractive, say experts.

Three-quarters of Brits prefer to use cash for small items
Whilst debit and credit cards may now be more popular, Brits still prefer to use cash for small items. 77% of those questioned said that they wouldn't add an item of under £3 to their credit card debt and instead would rather use cash. The research also found that over half of people remove loose change from their purse or wallet and keep it at home, whilst seven in ten people said they never carry anything smaller than a 50p piece.

So, as money education improves our knowledge of how to better use debit and credit cards, is cash set to become a thing of the past?

See related: Consumers turning to debit over credit cards; Credit card purchases fall 3m from 2009 to 2010

Published: 15 March 2011