Cashless payments have overtaken notes and coins for the first time, according to the Payments Council.
The use of cash by consumers, businesses and financial organisations fell to 48% of payments in the year before, the Payments Council said. Electronic transactions such as high-value transfers and debit card payments made up the other 52%. Cheques are also included in this percentage.
Cash is used less than before, with debit card, contactless and mobile payments on the increase according to the Payments Council, which oversees the system of transactions. Over the next 10 years, cash volumes are predicted to fall by over 30%.
In 2014, cash remained the most common payment method among shoppers and businesses even though the growth of digital money continued to sprout. During this same year, some 18 billion cash payments were made in the UK, which was worth around £250 billion.
Debit cards accounted for 24% of payments and direct debits accounted for 10% only. Cash was still the most popular during this period and was used more than eight out of ten purchases in places such as pubs, clubs and newsagents. However, it was used in fewer than three out of ten in petrol stations.
The Payments Council predicts that in 2016, the majority of transactions will be made by cashless payments. This is mostly because younger consumers say that they are less reliant on cash. Despite this, cash is expected to see a significant overhaul in future years, with a new 12-sided £1 coin entering circulation in 2017 and plastic £5 and £10 notes coming into effect by the Bank of England in 2016 and 2017.