Electronic payments outstripped cash for the first time on Sunday, while the total value of automated credit transactions dwarfed cash by a factor of 250:1 in 2014.
This matches predictions by the Payments Council that the switch would finally happen in the UK in 2015.
That said, these figures include the payment behaviours of large corporations, which typically make numerous high-value transactions and very rarely touch cash. This includes payments made through the CHAPS system operated by the Bank of England and used by big companies and financial institutions.
If these are taken out of the equation, cashless payments will probably not take the lead in terms of numbers until 2017. However, even in the retail sector, while people make more individual payments using cash, the value of cashless payments is far higher, with card payments accounting for over three-quarters of retail sales income.
By 2023, it is believed that cash transactions will fall to just 13 billion, while cashless alternatives – including cards, standing orders and other electronic payments – will grow to 27 billion.
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