Money (6)

More than five million people lived a cashless life in 2018, according to the banking trade body UK Finance.

The organisation said the number of people using cashless no more than once a month grew by two million compared with 2017.

Card payments, including contactless, continued to rise and solidify its place as the main source of payments in the UK. There are, however, still 1.9 million people using primarily cash. UK Finance said those who mainly use cash do so to aid budgeting.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “More and more customers are now opting for the speed and convenience of paying with their contactless cards. This rapid rate of technological change is set to continue over the coming decade.

“However, technology is not for everyone and cash remains a payment method that is valued and preferred by many, so maintaining access to cash will be vital to ensure no customer is left behind.”

Cash accounted for 60% of payments in 2008, but that figure was at just 28% in 2018, and within the next decade UK Finance forecasts cash payments will account for less than 10% of all transactions.

Despite the forecast, the trade body said the UK would not become a totally cashless society in the near future, but stressed that it will be “less important than it once was”.

Speaking to the BBC,┬áJohn Howells, chief executive of ATM network operator Link said: “The sharp drop in cash usage means that it is vital now to reform how cash is distributed to maintain broad, free access for all consumers. Link is determined to deliver this with the support of industry and regulators.”