Meanwhile, the use of cash continued to decline, with only four per cent of Britons’ mainly using physical money for their payments, yearly data from banking trade association UK Finance today revealed.
Contactless payments took off in 2015, with Transport for London pioneering the technology by allowing Londoners to tap their debit cards at tube station entrances.
The number of people paying using their mobile phones also rose significantly. The proportion of UK adults registered to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or a similar service climbed to 16 per cent in 2018 from 10 per cent in 2017. Only two per cent were registered in 2016.
Cashless lifestyles were increasingly popular. Around 10 per cent of Britons’ – 5.4m people – used cash only once a month or less last year, compared to 3.4m in 2017.
The technological revolution made itself felt in banking too, with 72 per cent of all UK adults using online banking in 2018, and 48 per cent using mobile banking.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The same pick ‘n’ mix approach people now take when it comes to music, television or the news is expanding into payments, as consumers take advantage of new technologies to pay in a way that suits them.”
“More and more customers are now opting for the speed and convenience of paying with their contactless cards, or using mobile banking to check their balances and make transfers while on the move,” he said.
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He added: “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.”