Still a long way to go before Britain embraces cashless society

Tuesday 15 July 2014

• A third of transactions are still in cash • Debit card is most popular payment method (35%) • 60% of over 50s regularly pay by credit card, compared to 38% of 18-49 year olds • Over 50s use cheques less frequently than younger generations

Still a long way to go before Britain embraces cashless society

As London buses stop accepting cash payments, new research by Saga Personal Finance shows there is some way to go before Britons are ready to be part of a cashless society.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that people say that they use debit cards as their most regular payment method, accounting for 35% of transactions. Both cash and credit card come in a close second, with each accounting for 32% of all transactions made by UK adults.

The poll also reveals some surprising differences about how age affects the way people pay. The under 50s say that cash accounts for a larger proportion of their payments (28%) than the over 50s (26%) and more surprisingly, 18-49 year olds who regularly write cheques say they use them, on average, in 10% of their everyday transactions. But the over 50s, on the other hand, use cheques in 5% of theirs.      

The over 50s say they are well versed in modern payment methods and, in many cases, use them more than their younger counterparts.

Indeed, 60% of over 50s regularly use credit cards for everyday transactions, compared to 38% of people aged 18-49. Many who reach their 50s, it seems, are more than willing to move with the financial times.

The same goes for Direct Debit payments. The survey reveals that 78% of 18-49 year olds regularly use pre-authorised transactions, compared to 80% of over 50s. Similarly, just over half (54%) of 18-49 year olds frequently pay for goods and services using online payments/bank transfers – compared to nearly three fifths (58%) of the Saga generations.

Andrew Strong, chief executive, Saga Personal Finance, commented: “Secure and efficient methods of payment underpin the British economy, as do the over 50s whose spending does so much to keep businesses afloat and people in jobs. The research shows that for people of all ages cash is a key part of their everyday spending, therefore businesses should continue to give people a full choice over how they choose to pay.”


*Populus interviewed adults  online between 18th and 19th June 2014. 974 of these were aged 50 or over. Results have been weighted to be representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

For further press information please contact

Gareth Dorrian
Saga Press Office
01303 771529

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