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06 August 2011

Two-thirds of UK shoppers say cash is inconvenient

"Consumers are increasingly less willing to carry large amounts of change around with them and many believe that coins will become obsolete in the future," new consumer research conducted by Barclays and Barclaycard has found.

One in eight UK consumers don't carry any cash and half believe coins and notes will become obsolete in the future, according to new research from Barclaycard and Barclays.

The research is based on a survey of 2,000 UK consumers and was conducted for Barclays by Populus in June 2011.
Key findings from the survey include: 

  • The average British purse or wallet contains just £23 (US$37).
  • 57% of UK consumers refuse to carry around one or two penny coins and 50% get rid of small change by giving it to charity, to children or even by throwing it in the bin.
  • Two-thirds of people find carrying cash inconvenient. The top reasons given for avoiding cash included the nuisance of receiving a pile of coins back in change, the weight of coins and the amount of space cash takes up.
  • 9% said the impact on the line of their clothes is a drawback to carrying cash.
  • 32% of consumers prefer to pay by card because it means they never have to worry about carrying cash.
  • 17% cite the ability to keep track of spending as a benefit of paying by card.
  • 41% have walked away from a small value purchase in the past because they didn't have enough cash on them.
  • The percentage here was higher among younger people.
  • 51% of 18-24 year olds admitted to this, compared to 18% of those aged over 65.
  • 29% are put off paying by cash because of not having the right change or because of reluctance to break a larger note.

Barclays and Barclaycard also asked the consumers taking part in the survey about their awareness of contactless card technology.
They found that:

  • 44% recognise the contactless logo at the point of sale, up from 28% a year ago.
  • 62% were aware of what contactless cards can do, up from 45% a year ago.

"Although we are far from becoming a 'cashless society', it's clear from our research that cash is no longer king," says Dan Wass, head of current accounts and contactless at Barclays.

"Consumers are increasingly less willing to carry large amounts of change around with them and many believe that coins will become obsolete in the future.
It is clear that shoppers are now looking for alternative methods of payment — such as contactless — which will allow them to avoid spending time fumbling for change in a queue and will take up less space in their wallet."


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