UK expects to be nearly cashless by 2024 as use of digital payments accelerates, new Worldpay from FIS report finds


The use of cash in the UK has significantly reduced, with the COVID-19 pandemic fueling a shift in consumer payment preferences, according to a new report recently released by financial technology leader FIS® (NYSE: FIS).

The 2021 Global Payments Report, by Worldpay from FIS projects that by 2024, cash will account for just 7 percent of in-store purchases in the U.K., down from 27 percent of in-store payment transactions in 2019. The 1202report found that cash usage for in-store purchases in the country declined from 27 percent in 2019 to just 13 percent of total purchases last year.

Pete Wickes, general manager, EMEA, Worldpay from FIS, said: “This research shows the speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behavior in just 12 months. The decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated, and while this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimize and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked. Fintechs and regulators need to collaborate to build new frameworks that allow for this shift and use technology to boost financial inclusion especially for those underserved communities.”

The Worldpay Global Payments Report, which examines current and future payments trends across 41 countries, found that digital commerce accelerated globally under the pandemic. Across all countries studied, cash usage dropped by 10 percent in 2020 to 20 percent of transactions. The 2021 report predicts that many European countries, including Denmark, Norway and Sweden, will be almost  cashless by 2024, and that the growth of non-cash payment methods will be primarily split between cards and mobile payments, with mobile payments expected to comprise a third of the POS market in 2024.

Share of cash at POS, percentage of total

Country201920202024FCAGR 20-24
Hong Kong11.0%9.1%1.6%-31.2%