One third of British shoppers think cash will disappear in five years, Worldpay reports

A new survey from Worldpay has revealed that one third of consumers believe cash will become obsolete by 2020. With London busses rejecting cash in favour of contactless payments and Waitrose opening the first entirely cashless store this month, the cashless revolution is firmly under way.

Today, more people are paying with card than with cash, preferring an expanding range of quick and easy payment options rooted in technology, with half of British shoppers having used contactless to pay for goods at least once and 40% of  saying they use it a few times a week.

People don’t just want more cashless options; they also want to be able to spend more, more quickly. A year on from the increase in the contactless payment limit and 37% of shoppers told Worldpay they would like to see the ceiling rise again, allowing them to ‘tap and go’ on purchases over £30 – this rose to 45% of respondents in London. Unsurprisingly, the urge for frictionless shopping is even higher in the Capital, where 33% of Londoners use contactless cards once a day, more often than any other region across the UK.

The trend towards going cashless is likely to accelerate as contactless technology becomes a stepping stone to mainstream adoption of mobile payments.  The arrival of Apple Pay and Android Pay has spurred two thirds (67%) of 16-34 year olds to leave their wallets at home, instead choosing to pay with their smartphones. Interestingly, it’s not just the younger generation buying in to this movement – across all age groups, 54% of consumers expect their smartphones to replace their card as the main method of payment within the next five years.

As consumer preferences change, it’s up to businesses to change with them. Research by Worldpay has found that businesses that don’t keep up with the latest payment gadgets are likely to struggle. A quarter of UK consumers claim to avoid shops that don’t take cards, while a third (30%) say they only use cash if they absolutely have to.

James Frost, chief marketing and commercial officer at Worldpay, said: “The shift that we are seeing in terms of consumer preferences and what shoppers now expect from the high street is seismic and paying with cash is an inconvenience for many of today’s shoppers.

“Whilst online stores have tended to changing expectations and delivered simplicity and flexibility through technology, physical stores are at risk of falling behind. From contactless busses to Waitrose’s first cashless store, the growing popularity of tap and go is a trend that all retailers will need to embrace or risk losing relevance.”