Half of Britons used cash less often during pandemic, survey reveals

The end of cash? Half of Britons have used cash less often during the coronavirus pandemic, YouGov survey reveals

  • Half of people across Britain have used cash less often during Covid pandemic
  • The YouGov study covered 21 countries and surveyed more than 25,000 people
  • Amount of free-to-use cash machines across Britain have reduced in numbers

Half of people across Britain have used cash less often during the pandemic yet only a quarter view relying on electronic payments as a positive step in a global study.

The YouGov study found that the majority of Britons, 47 per cent, would not welcome the idea of a cashless society while 21 per cent are neutral about the idea.

However 37 per cent of Britons said they had seen no impact as they used cash little before and have seen no change despite the pandemic.  

The research covered 21 countries and surveyed more than 25,000 people including more than 1,700 in Britain. 

Half of people across Britain have used cash less often during the pandemic yet only a quarter view relying on electronic payments as a positive step in a global study (stock image)

Overall results showed that eight per cent of people mostly used cash before and still do, while two per cent of those surveyed now use cash more often than before. 

Throughout the pandemic the number of free-to-use cash machines across Britain have reduced in numbers, due to rapid lack of usage.

More than 3,500 bank branches have closed since 2015, with more now expected to follow in the coming months as the UK plans for a return to normality after months of lockdown.

Thailand saw the biggest decline in cash use with 57 per cent of the population surveyed using coins and notes less often following the Covid-19 outbreak.   

The YouGov study found that the majority of Britons, 47 per cent, would not welcome the idea of a cashless society while 21 per cent are neutral about the idea (stock image) 

Australia and Canada have experienced similar declines to Britain, with 51 per cent and 49 per cent of people respectively revealing that they use cash less frequently.

Meanwhile 37 per cent of people in France use cash less often, as do 35 per cent in Germany, 32 per cent in China, 29 per cent in Denmark and 25 per cent in the United States.

However Sweden saw the lowest proportion of people who have used cash less during the pandemic with 11 per cent agreeing they have paid less often with notes. 

It comes as Sweden is seen as nearing closer to becoming a ‘cashless society’, with nearly three-quarters, 74 per cent, of Swedes saying they mostly did not use cash before the pandemic and still do not, according to a report. 

Studies suggest that the pandemic has accelerated trends which were already affecting the popularity of cash, such as the growth in online shopping and contactless spending as an alternative way to pay. 

Britain’s slow transition into a cashless society has previously been criticised, whereas the likes of Sweden have moved much more rapidly. Pictured: Bank of England, London

Yet people in Spain were found to be the most resistant to the idea of a cashless society, with about 53 per cent viewing it as negative, while just 27 per cent believe it would be a good move.

However in India, four in five people, 79 per cent, felt a cashless society would be positive step, while just one in ten perceived it as negative.  

Britain’s slow transition into a cashless society has previously been criticised, whereas the likes of Sweden have moved much more rapidly.

Yet this has raised fears regarding the sections of society who do not digital banking or debit cards.

In the ongoing transition, more than two thirds of Swedish citizen now use a free application called Swish to make payments to friends and businesses.

Percentages of people who agree they have paid less often in cash since the coronavirus outbreak started, according to YouGov:

1. Thailand, 57%

2. Malaysia, 53%

=3. Spain, 52%

=3. United Arab Emirates (UAE), 52%

=5. Australia, 51%

=5. Vietnam, 51%

7. Britain, 50%

8. Canada, 49%

9. Indonesia, 48%

10. India, 47%

11. Philippines, 45%

12. Singapore, 44%

13. Italy, 41%

14. Hong Kong, 38%

15. France, 37%

16. Germany, 35%

17. China, 32%

18. Denmark, 29%

19. Taiwan, 27%

20. United States, 25%

21. Sweden, 11%

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