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Just a third of Britons want a cashless society after fears contactless cards are open to fraud and theft

  • Finance giants want people to switch to tap and go cards as its cheaper for them 
  • new research suggests that only a fraction of the public want to give up on cash
  • Just one in five of over 55s are in favour but the young aren't convicned either

Efforts by banks and stores to push customers to stop using real money are failing, with just one in three happy to live in a cashless society

Efforts by banks and stores to push customers to stop using real money are failing, with just one in three happy to live in a cashless society.

Finance giants want people to switch to tap and go cards or use smartphones to make payments as this is much cheaper for them than handling real money.

It also good news for retailers amid evidence people are more likely to spend when using virtual money than real notes and coins.

However, new research by retail analysts Mintel suggests that only a tiny fraction of the public are willing to give up on cash.

This week the Bank of England is introducing the long life ‘plastic’ £10 note, which follows the new £5, and it seems people see real value in currency carrying the Queen’s head.

Mintel found that just 28 per cent of women are in favour of moving to a cashless society with the figure at 38 per cent for men. This gives an overall average of 33 per cent.

Older people are particularly opposed to losing the right to spend cash. Just one in five of those aged 55 and over are in favour compared to 43 per cent of those aged 25-34.

This week the Bank of England is introducing the long life ‘plastic’ £10 note, featuring a picture of Jane Austen

The reluctance among some groups to give up on cash may be related to evidence that contactless cards are open to fraud and theft.

A security loophole means that most cards can continue to be used for small purchases by criminals for weeks after they have been reported stolen.

Regionally, just 30 per cent of those in the South East, East Anglia and Yorkshire want to move on from cash.

The figure is a higher 36 per cent in Scotland and 37 per cent in London, where people who want to use public transport are simply not allowed to use cash.

And just as most retailers now refuse to accept cheques, it seems that many will move away from notes and coins over the next 10 years. 

This pattern is already being seen in countries like Sweden, where paying through a smartphone app has taken off.

Senior financial services analyst at Mintel, Patrick Ross, said: ‘While alternative payment methods continue to grow, the demise of cash has been greatly exaggerated.

‘Many people still prefer using cash, while others simply like to have some cash with them just in case. Although card payments are almost universally accepted in urban areas, cash continues to play an important role in everyday life.’ 

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