Although cash use has experienced a decline in recent years, cost-of-living pressures have forced many UK residents to turn to cash to better manage their budgets. And for the first time in ten years, this legal tender as a payment method experienced an uptick in the UK.
According to a UK Finance report cited by the BBC, the number of payments made with cash increased by 7% last year. Making up 14% of total payments, physical money came out as the second most popular form of payment.
In an interview with the BBC, Adrian Buckle, Head of Research at UK Finance noted that while many payment methods—including contactless payments—have emerged over the years, the allure of cash is still very much prominent among consumers. And that’s evident today, as cost-of-living pressures continue to impact many households and budgeting money is ever more prominent.
Cash Isn’t Going Anywhere
With payments becoming more digitized, the use of physical currency has fallen in recent years. However, the decline does not necessarily equate to its demise. In fact, many consumers worldwide still rely on bank notes to make purchases.
In France, for example, cash is still king. We covered a recent survey, which found that cash made up 36.5% of total transaction volume in 2022. Meanwhile Sweden—a leading proponent for a cashless society—had to abort its efforts to ensure that its residents had easy access to physical money.
Similarly, Australia recently held protests against what they believe to be the intrusion of digital payments. Citizens have been vocal about it, requesting that banks and governments maintain the availability and access to physical cash for those that still rely on it.
Here in the U.S., some legislation has been drafted to protect the use of cash, arguing that by doing so would foster financial inclusivity as well as eliminate discrimination against those who still prefer to use cash.