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Scotland clings on to the pennies while London predicts change for the pound

London more positive about cashless society, despite 70 per cent of Scots preferring card over cash

More than half of Londoners think we’ll one day become a cashless society, a study by Opayo has found. 58 per cent of people in the capital think a move away from notes and coins will happen – compared to just 35 per cent of Scots.

But this resistance from the north was surprising given an overwhelming 70 per cent of Scottish consumers said they prefer to pay by card – higher than anywhere else in the country. Just 21 per cent cited cash as their favoured method of payment.

More than one third of retailers in the UK said they don’t currently accept credit or debit cards, a decision that is causing them to miss out on additional revenue because consumers will either shop elsewhere (31 per cent) or they’ll reduce the number of items they have so they can pay by cash (17 per cent).

“We’ve been using paper currencies for 300 years,” said Simon Black, CEO at Opayo. “While industry, the economy and society have undergone multiple transformations during that time, the primary payment mechanism – cash – has remained the same. Consumers are starting to feel that this is out of step with the way they live their lives, and with the technological services available to them.”

But it’s not only the findings of this study that reflect a call for change in the way we pay. The Bank of England recognised that paper money is no longer fit for purpose when it announced plans to introduce plastic notes, while Transport for London went a step further by entering a public consultation to stop taking cash on buses. Overall, cash payments have dropped twenty per cent in the last ten years while studies show cash transactions cost the UK economy around 1.5 per cent of GDP annually in security, storage and processing fees.

Black commented: “Put simply, cash is inconvenient, it’s insecure, and it’s costly. It’s time for change. Technology is beginning to make real in-roads, and the vision of a cashless society is finally starting to become a reality.”

But it seems we’re not quite there yet. Just 26 per cent of Brits say they could survive more than seven days without any cash.