The Payments Council says cash payments have slumped from 73 per cent to 59 per cent over the past decade with debit card spending quadrupling to £264bn last year. Debit card payments, the most popular form of spending, were used over six billion times in 2009. The cheque continued to decline at an even faster rate than expected. Cheques now look set to be phased out entirely by October 2018. “By 2050, when today's new workers have retired, cheques look set to be a historical curiosity,” the Council said.